Peterborough MP Paul Bristow sacked from government job for breaking rank over Gaza ceasefire

Conservative party candidate Paul Bristow talks to veterans during a D-Day 75th anniversary event in Peterborough as voting gets under way.
Credit: PA
Peterborough MP Paul Bristow Credit: PA

Tory MP Paul Bristow has been sacked from his government position after backing calls for a ceasefire in Gaza, Downing Street has confirmed.

The Peterborough MP has been told to leave his government job as a parliamentary private secretary at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology.

He had written to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak calling for the measure, saying it would save lives.

He said that Palestinian civilians were facing a “collective punishment” as a result of Israel’s siege and airstrikes campaign in the wake of Hamas’s bloodshed.

Downing Street said that Mr Bristow had been asked to leave his job as a parliamentary private secretary for breaking rank.

A No 10 spokeswoman said: “Paul Bristow has been asked to leave his post in government following comments that were not consistent with the principles of collective responsibility.”

Much has been made of the splits in Labour over Sir Keir Starmer’s position on the conflict between Israel and Gaza but the sacking will be seen as evidence of Tory divisions too.

Mr Bristow’s letter, dated Thursday, appears to have been deleted from his website but remains on Facebook.

He wrote that he is “deeply grieved by the heart-breaking and devastating humanitarian crisis” unfolding in Gaza, having spoken with constituents and meeting with the Peterborough Joint Mosques Council.

The MP said he welcomed Mr Sunak calling for what he has termed “specific pauses” in the fighting to allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, home to more than two million people.

But Mr Bristow added: “A permanent ceasefire would save lives and allow for a continued column of humanitarian aid (to) reach the people who need it the most.

“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.”

He accompanied an image of the letter on social media saying that Palestinians should not “suffer collective punishment for the crimes of Hamas” – action which could be deemed a war crime.

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