Labour frontbencher dodges Kay Burley grilling on sacking rebels

Liz Kendall grilled on Labour’s response to rebel councillors

A Labour frontbencher repeatedly dodged questions from Kay Burley on whether rebels calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict will be sacked.

Shadow cabinet minister Liz Kendall was pressed on whether Labour MPs who defy Sir Keir Starmer will face action.

She eventually suggested those who break ranks will not lose their jobs.

During an interview on Sky News, host Burley asked: “What should happen to those who don’t abide by the party line?”

Ms Kendall replied: “This is a really difficult, complex, serious and deeply held issue. I think we have been listening to the public, to our representatives and members.

“But I think Keir has shown real leadership in setting forward our position that whilst we all want an end to that violence a ceasefire isn’t the right approach now.”

Burley said: “With respect that’s not my question, my question is what happens to those who don’t abide by what he says is the party line?”

Ms Kendall said Labour will “continue to engage with all our representatives on this issue”.

She added: “I actually think it is a strength of our party that we have people with real lived experience who represent the communities who are deeply affected by this.”

Burley pressed Ms Kendall on whether they would be disciplined.

The Labour MP said: “Well that’s not been Keir’s approach, he wants to continue to listen.

“And let me just say this, I think the argument about why a ceasefire isn’t right now, because it will leave Hamas in place, is absolutely the right case that Keir has made.

“Just yesterday we saw a spokesperson for Hamas saying clearly and publicly we would do those atrocities from October 7 again and again until Israel is annihilated. So it’s not right for us to call for a ceasefire now that would leave that it place.”

Burley interrupted: “I didn’t ask that, I didn’t ask that. Yeah I didn’t ask that, I asked what’s going to happen to people who don’t toe the party line…”

Ms Kendall said that Labour will “continue to listen and engage”.

The Sky News presenter asked: “They won’t be disciplined?”

The Labour politician said: “That’s not been the approach.”

Asked if it will be the approach going forward, Ms Kendall added: “That’s not the approach we’ve taken.”

Burley pressed again: “But what about going forward?”

The Labour MP said: “It will be the same. But Keir’s position is the right one and I actually think that if you look across our party our desire to end the killing, to make sure we get the aid in and the hostages out, and the long-term goal on a two-state solution is something we all agree on.”

Sir Keir is calling for a humanitarian pause in the Israel-Hamas conflict rather than a permanent ceasefire.

But the Labour leader is facing an open revolt within his party with a series of shadow ministers breaking ranks and calling for a ceasefire, as well as high-profile devolved mayors Sadiq Khan and Andy Burnham.

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