A British MP for the ruling Conservative Party has been sacked from his role as a ministerial aide after calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza war.
Paul Bristow, an aide to the secretary of state for science, innovation and technology, had written a letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last week urging him to change his position on the conflict and back a “permanent” end to the hostilities.
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The British government says it supports “humanitarian pauses” but not a ceasefire.
In his letter, Bristow said a full ceasefire would save lives and allow humanitarian aid to “reach the people who need it the most”.
In a statement on Monday, a Downing Street spokesperson said the decision to remove Bristow from his position came in response to comments deemed “not consistent with the principles of collective responsibility”.
Bristow, who represents Peterborough in parliament and co-chairs the all-party parliamentary group on British Muslims, expressed understanding about Sunak’s decision.
“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,” he told the BBC.
“I believe I can do this better from the backbenches rather than as part of the government payroll.”
Israel in recent days has expanded its air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip, which has been under relentless bombardment since a surprise attack by Hamas, the group running the enclave, inside Israel on October 7.
Officials in Gaza say more than 8,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s air attacks, while in Israel the death toll has topped 1,400, according to Israeli authorities.