Lisa Nandy put on spot by Victoria Derbyshire over Keir Starmer Israel comments
Lisa Nandy grilled on Keir Starmer’s position on Israel
Lisa Nandy was put on the spot by the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire over why it took Sir Keir Starmer nine days to clarify Israel comments that sparked a string of Labour councillors to resign.
The Labour leader appeared to suggest during an interview with LBC earlier this month that Israel had “the right” to withhold energy and water from Gaza following Hamas’s terror attacks.
But Sir Keir on Friday denied backing Israel on withholding humanitarian aid from Gaza after his comments prompted a backlash from Muslims members.
During an appearance on the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, stand-in host Derbyshire grilled Ms Nandy about Sir Keir’s remarks.
The Labour frontbencher said: “He’s clarified this week that he was answering the previous question and then went on to talk about the importance of international law.
“I was with Keir on October 7 when we held a vigil at Labour Party conference in support of Israeli civilians and what had happened with the horrendous Hamas attack.
“He made the point at that vigil that international law must be respected and upheld and he’s made it many, many times since.”
Derbyshire pressed: “The problem is it took him nine days to issue the clarification you’ve just referenced.
“And in that time a number of people in Britain’s Muslim community have expressed anger at what he said and at the position of the Labour Party.
“Various Muslim councillors have resigned, the Labour Muslim Network has asked for an apology – will they get one?”
Ms Nandy replied: “We can’t apologise for holding a position that we’ve never held. Keir has been clear and consistent on this as has David Lammy and as have I.”
The BBC host asked: “He wasn’t clear on that day with LBC though was he?”
The Labour MP said: “That’s why he clarified when he was asked about it to make sure people hear loud and clear from us that international law must be upheld.”
But Derbyshire again pointed out it took Sir Keir nine days.
Ms Nandy said: “Look Keir and I met with aid agencies this week to talk about the unfolding crisis, the emergency on the ground.
“I can tell you that we are acutely aware of what is happening in Gaza at the moment and the urgent need to get help to people.
“We’re acutely aware that for Palestinians in Gaza this didn’t start on October 7, that they have been in crisis for over a decade and a half with very little prospect of peace.”
Asked if she understood why some Muslim Labour supporters “felt alienated”, Ms Nandy added: “I completely understand why people in the Muslim community are in extraordinary amounts of pain right now and heard those words and felt very concerned.
“I’m glad we’ve clarified that, I’m glad we’ve been consistent about that – Keir, David Lammy and myself – and continue to be consistent about that.”
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