Imran Hussain quit Sir Keir Starmer‘s frontbench team on Tuesday night in order to ‘strongly advocate’ for a ceasefire in the besieged territory.
Sir Keir has already faced a substantial backlash, with 18 frontbenchers having called for a cessation of hostilities. Hundreds of councillors and backbench MPs have also urged the leader to shift his position.
Last night insiders said Mr Hussain’s resignation – which surprised many frontbenchers who are still internally lobbying the Labour leader – could put pressure on others to do the same.
One source said: ‘This could definitely cause others to follow suit. Rank and file members are certainly hoping it might pressure other MPs to do the same.’
Labour’s internal row over Keir Starmer’s refusal to call for a ceasefire in Gaza deepened last night amid warnings multiple shadow ministers could stand down
Imran Hussain quit Sir Keir Starmer ‘s frontbench team on Tuesday night in order to ‘strongly advocate’ for a ceasefire in the besieged territory
Andrew Fisher, the director of policy under Jeremy Corbyn, said: ‘This is the first resignation from the Labour frontbench but it won’t be the last. Other shadow ministers will also want to continue to call for a ceasefire, and will reach the same conclusion.’
Ex-shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said: ‘There is a huge swell of feeling about this issue in the Labour party and beyond. These principled resignations reflect that.’
But others said his decision had set back efforts within the party to force Sir Keir’s hand. On Tuesday, Muslim frontbenchers frustrated with the leadership agreed that it was not the right time to resign but ramp up the pressure from a position of influence at the shadow ministerial level.
One senior Labour figure said: ‘This was definitely not planned by the group of frontbenchers calling for a ceasefire. He only did it because he signed that early day motion calling for a ceasefire in the first place.
‘Parliament was then prorogued, and frontbenchers were told not to put their names to any EDMs. But it has now been re-tabled and he’s been getting pressure to put his name to it again – so he stood down so he could sign it. Imran is a victim of his own politicking.’
Another aide with knowledge of the discussions said: ‘Imran played everyone. All the Muslim frontbenchers met yesterday and agreed it was not the right time to resign – then he goes and pulls this nonsense.
‘Anyone resigning at that time of night is reacting and not thinking. He’s listening too much to what people are saying on social media. If you’re contradicting the leader from the backbenches, it has no impact.’
Last night the party reiterated their opposition to a ceasefire.
A spokesman said: ‘A ceasefire now will only freeze this conflict and would leave hostages in Gaza and Hamas with the infrastructure and capability to carry out the sort of attack we saw on October 7. Labour is calling for humanitarian pauses in the fighting.’