Prime Minister Rishi Sunak sacked MP Paul Bristow from his role as a ministerial aide for comments “not consistent with the principles of collective responsibility”. The Peterborough MP was a Parliamentary Private Secretary – traditionally the first step up the ministerial ladder – to Michelle Donelan, Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology.
In a letter to the prime minister last week, Mr Bristow had called for a “full ceasefire” to the conflict in Israel: Government policy is to support “humanitarian pauses” but stops short of calling for the full ceasefire asked for by Mr Bristow.
‘You have to have a collective government responsibility.’
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Roads and Local Transport, Richard Holden, expresses his support for the sacking of Paul Bristow. pic.twitter.com/ESIDnkvEjx
— GB News (@GBNEWS) October 31, 2023
Yesterday the prime minister sacked Mr Bristow – the MP later telling the BBC “I completely understand the PM’s decision. And it is with regret I leave a job I enjoyed.
“But I can now talk openly about an issue so many of my constituents care deeply about”.
Here in full is the letter, sent on October 26, by Mr Bristow to the prime minister.
Dear Prime Minister,
Last week following the grievous events in Israel and Gaza, I held engagement events, including surgery meetings with many constituents, and met with the Peterborough Joint Mosques Council.
There is a great deal of sorrow and pain. Some of my constituents have been directly affected. It is important that you hear this message. This is my job as a local Member of Parliament.
My constituents and I are deeply grieved by the heart breaking and devastating humanitarian crisis now unfolding in Gaza. Thousands have been killed and more than 1 million now displaced. It is difficult to understand how this makes Israel more secure or indeed makes anything better.
I met with my constituents on the day it emerged that roads near the Rafah crossing were being repaired to ensure an aid convoy could bring in vital supplies. The £20 million of aid pledged by the Government is also an important first step.
Moreover, your call for a ceasefire to allow for humanitarian aid to enter Gaza is also extremely welcome.
A permanent ceasefire would save lives and allow for a continued use column of humanitarian aid can reach people who need it the most.
Access to water, electricity, and fuel, is vital for the Palestinian people. My constituents and I would be grateful for your comments on the actions our Government is taking to ensure that people in Gaze do not face collective punishment for the crimes of Hamas.
There was also concern raised about some of the public discourse, commentary, and reporting of events. Support for a humanitarian response for the Palestinian people does not equate for sympathy for terrorists
I have assured my constituents that this is not the case.
I know Peterborough people will organize events in the near future to raise vital funds for humanitarian support and I look forward to supporting them.
I will continue to engage with my constituents on these matters. I also look forward to continuing to work constructively with the Government and in Parliament to address these humanitarian matters.
The brutal Hamas attacks against innocent civilians are unforgivable. Hostages need to be released. It is challenging to understand how the present strategy of bombing Gaza will lead to the release of hostages.
I shall reiterate at every opportunity that ordinary people are not Hamas and every innocent life in Gaze is precious. We must do everything we can to preserve life.
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