Baroness Warsi resigns over Gaza conflict saying she 'can no longer support Government policy'

Warsi was a senior Foreign Office minister and the Minister for Faith and Communities

The senior Foreign Office minister Baroness Warsi has resigned over David Cameron's stance on the Gaza conflict.

Announcing her resignation this morning, the former Chair of the Conservative Party said that she had written to the Prime Minister "and tendered [her] resignation".

"I can no longer support Government policy on Gaza," she wrote.

In her letter to Mr Cameron, Lady Warsi said that the Government's approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had been "morally indefensible" and not "in Britain's national interest".

With the Prime Minister currently out of the country on holiday, the strongest reaction from his Government to the resignation was issued by George Osborne.

The Chancellor appeared critical of Lady Warsi's judgment, saying: "This is a disappointing and frankly unnecessary decision. The British Government is working with others in the world to bring peace to Gaza and we do now have a tentative ceasefire which we all hope will hold."

The resignation is a significant setback for Mr Cameron, who has faced criticism for failing to condemn Israel’s military action in Gaza and its recent apparent air strike on a UN-run school in Rafah more forcefully.

The Rafah shelling, which killed at least 10 Palestinians - four of whom were children aged between five and 12 - provoked recriminations from around the world, including the UN and US.

The Prime Minister said it was "right" to condemn the air strike, but stopped short of endorsing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's description of the attack as a "moral outrage and a criminal act".

A Downing Street spokesperson said today: "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."

Video: Politicians react to Baroness Warsi's resignation

Lady Warsi, who was appointed by Mr Cameron as Minister for Faith and Communities in 2012, has regularly expressed her views on the fighting between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza on her Twitter feed, which is followed by more than 35,000 people.

On 24 July, more than two weeks into the current conflict that has seen more than 1,800 Palestinians killed, she wrote: "Can people stop trying to justify the killing of children. Whatever our politics there can never be justification, surely only regret #Gaza."

She wrote in her resignation letter: "My view has been that our policy in relation to the Middle East peace process generally but more recently our approach and language during the current crisis in Gaza is morally indefensible, is not in Britain's national interest and will have a long-term detrimental impact on our reputation internationally and domestically."

Lady Warsi later tweeted an image of her resignation letter to David Cameron in full Lady Warsi later tweeted an image of her resignation letter to David Cameron in full Labour was quick to respond to the news. Sadiq Khan, the shadow Justice Secretary, said it was "very courageous of my brave friend Sayeeda Warsi to resign over this Government's inexplicable silence and total weakness on the Gaza crisis".

Ed Miliband has previously criticised the Prime Minister for failing to send a "clearer message to Israel" over the conflict.

On Saturday, the Labour leader said it was "wrong" of Mr Cameron not to publicly oppose Israel's incursion into Gaza, adding: "His silence on the killing of hundreds of innocent Palestinian civilians caused by Israel's military action will be inexplicable to people across Britain and internationally."

Responding to Lady Warsi's resignation today, fellow Conservative peer Lord Deben described her as a "class act in the House of Lords upon whom [the] Government relies".

"[The] Government will miss her command of the subject and of the House. She is a significant loss on a real matter of principle," he said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

Recruitment Genius: Guest Services Assistant

£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...

Day In a Page

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border