On 13th October, I voted to recognise Palestine as a state.
Palestinian statehood is not a gift to be given but a right to be recognised and that is why since 2011 I, and my Labour colleagues, have supported Palestinian recognition at the United Nations.
I fully support two states living side by side in peace, and recognised by all of their neighbours and it is clear that the events of recent months only underline the dangers for both Palestinians and Israelis of a resumption of violence and bloodshed.
Labour is clear that this conflict will only be resolved through negotiations. However after decades of diplomatic failure there are those on all sides that today question whether a two-state solution is any longer possible.
That is why Labour believes that, amidst the undoubted despair and the disappointment, the international community must take concrete steps to strengthen moderate Palestinian opinion, encourage the Palestinians to take the path of politics, reject the path of violence, and rekindle hopes that there is a credible route to a viable Palestinian state and a secure Israel achieved by negotiations.
We are clear that Palestinian recognition at the UN would be such a step. That is why Labour called on the then Foreign Secretary, William Hague, in 2011 and in 2012 to commit Britain to supporting the Palestinians’ bid for recognition at the UN, not a means of bypassing the need for talks, but as a bridge for restarting them.
Labour’s consistent support for the principle of recognising Palestinian statehood, as part of continuing steps to achieve a comprehensive negotiated two state solution, is why I voted to support the principle of Palestinian statehood.
This motion does not commit Labour to immediate recognition of Palestine but it does reaffirm Labour’s support for the principle of recognising Palestinian statehood. The timing and the mechanism by which Palestinian statehood would be recognised will continue to be a matter decided by Labour in Government.
You can read the debate in full here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm141013/debtext/141013-0002.htm#14101322000001