Palestine solidarity campaigners picket office of Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan over ceasefire vote

Campaigners staged a protest outside the office of a Portsmouth MP over his decision not to participate in a recent motion to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.
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More than 20 members of the Portsmouth Palestine Solidarity Campaign picketed outside the office of Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan on Friday, December 29. The action came after MPs rejected an SNP amendment to the King’s Speech calling for a ceasefire in Gaza – from which Morgan abstained from voting.

A Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) spokesperson said: “People on the Palestinian Solidarity side of the debate were aghast at Morgan's lack of support to the Palestinian cause. But that pales into insignificance compared to the wrath felt by many Muslims. On the fantastic demonstrations in Portsmouth organised by PSC there is a popular chant "Rishi Sunak is a wasteman". The chant reaches a higher burst of energy when Starmer replaces Sunak, it is a full crescendo when Morgan is mentioned. It matters because although far from scientific, it is an authentic collective voice being articulated.”

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Stephen Morgan said: “The defacing of the constituency office or intimidation and abuse my staff, volunteers and myself have received, will not undermine my efforts to take meaningful action as a local MP to help achieve what we all want - an end to the conflict and a permanent ceasefire.

Members of the PSC outside the office of Stephen Morgan MP.Members of the PSC outside the office of Stephen Morgan MP.
Members of the PSC outside the office of Stephen Morgan MP.

“That’s why I’ve been raising concerns in the Commons, questioning Ministers and lobbying Government to ensure they use all diplomatic avenues available to them to end the conflict and relieve the suffering of the people of Gaza.

“It is increasingly clear that open-ended military action without a clear and desired political outcome is ultimately futile. The death of innocent people in Israel and Gaza and the horror of recent months has been intolerable.

“That’s why I have urged the Foreign Secretary to do all he can to achieve a sustained ceasefire as the only means by which civilians can be protected, ensure humanitarian access, the release of the remaining hostages and start the progress towards peace.”

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A statement on Stephen Morgan’s website says that he “supported” the ammendment including the “cessation of fighting”.

Part of the statement said: “I understand some constituents may be disappointed that the specific word “ceasefire” was not used in the amendment I supported, however the amendment called for an “enduring cessation of fighting” as soon as possible. I believe this is the most likely and effective way of stopping the bloodshed, releasing the hostages, lifting the siege and preventing escalation.

"The first responsibility of any government is to ensure the safety of its people. Therefore, Israel will never agree to a ceasefire whilst Hamas continues to hold hundreds of innocent civilians as hostages and whilst it retains the capability, and clear intent, to commit further attacks on the Israeli people. This is something confirmed by Hamas in a recent statement when they said: “We will repeat the October 7 attack time and again until Israel is annihilated”.

“There is also fear that any unilateral and unconditional ceasefire would only serve to allow Hamas to entrench their position, elongating this intolerable conflict.

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“It is also important to recognise that a ceasefire cannot be imposed by the international community, it can only be negotiated. I know that many people who have written to me would be delighted if I used the words ‘ceasefire now’, but hollow words offer false comfort in the absence of real solutions.

"While much emphasis has been placed on the vote taking place in Parliament on Wednesday night, I want to assure you I will continue doing all that I can to advocate for an enduring cessation of fighting, leading to an internationally brokered peace process and ultimately a two-state solution.”

You can read the full statement here. Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt voted against the ammendment. You can find out how all other MPs voted here.