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05.08.14

Baroness Warsi resigns as Foreign Office minister over Gaza

Foreign Office minister Baroness Sayeeda Warsi has resigned from the government over its policy on Gaza. 

The former chair of the Conservative Party tweeted: “With deep regret I have this morning written to the Prime Minister & tendered my resignation. I can no longer support Govt policy on #Gaza.” 

An Egyptian-brokered 72-hour ceasefire is underway, but nearly a quarter of the 1.8 million population of Gaza has been displaced and more than 1,800 Palestinians killed. Hamas fighters and rockets have killed 64 Israeli soldiers and three civilians. 

Baroness Warsi, who became the first female Muslim cabinet minister when David Cameron came to office in 2010, stated: “I believe our approach in relation to the current conflict is neither consistent with our values, specifically our commitment to the rule of law and our long history of support for International Justice.” 

Resignation letter

Her resignation letter was also critical of David Cameron’s recent cabinet reshuffle, adding: “In many ways the absence of the experience and expertise of colleagues like Ken Clarke and Dominic Grieve has over the last few weeks become very apparent.” 

She added that William Hague was “one of the finest Foreign Secretaries this country has seen.” In what may be interpreted as a criticism to his successor, Philip Hammond, Baroness Warsi said: “There is however great unease across the Foreign Office, amongst both Ministers and senior officials, in the way recent decisions are being made.” 

In her first interview since her resignation, she told the Huffington Post: “The British government can only play a constructive role in solving the Middle East crisis if it is an honest broker, and at the moment I do not think it is.” 

A Downing Street spokesman said: “The Prime Minister regrets that Baroness Warsi has decided to stand down and is grateful for the excellent work that she has done both as a Minister and in Opposition. 

“Our policy has always been consistently clear - the situation in Gaza is intolerable and we've urged both sides to agree to an immediate and unconditional ceasefire.” 

(Image: c. David Jones) 

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