Labour clash as 14 MPs slam NATO and Keir urged to remove whip – full list

PMQs: Keir Starmer quizzes Boris Johnson on Russia sanctions

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Sir Keir Starmer has put considerable effort into convincing the public that his party has moved on from Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-war, anti-NATO rhetoric. However, there have been calls for him to remove the whip from several Labour MPs – who are said to oppose NATO.

Speaking during PMQs today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Sir Keir should remove the whip from “14 Labour MPs” who oppose NATO.

Backing the PM, Conservative MP Oliver Dowden tweeted: “Labour MPs and their union paymasters ‘refute the idea that NATO is a defensive alliance’ and say ‘Britain needs to change its policy’ on Ukraine.

“Will @Keir_Starmer show he is serious in his support for NATO and standing up to Russian aggression by removing the whip from them?”

Earlier this month, Sir Keir said: “At first glance, some on the left may be sympathetic to those siren voices who condemn Nato.

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“But to condemn Nato is to condemn the guarantee of democracy and security it brings, and which our allies in eastern and central Europe are relying on, as the sabre-rattling from Moscow grows ever louder.”

He added: “NATO is just one part of the rules-based international system that allows for collective action, but it is a vital one.

“It should be supported, and its resolve strengthened, not undermined by ill thought-out opposition.

“That is why Labour’s support for Nato remains as unwavering today as it was when we played an instrumental part in its formation.”

He has also criticised his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn and has backed the Prime Minister’s stance on the UK’s NATO membership and its expansion into Ukraine.

In Prime Minister’s Questions today, Boris Johnson said he was “genuinely grateful” for the Labour backing of its stance on Russian aggression.

Which Labour MPs do not support NATO?

The following MPs all signed a statement from Stop the War Coalition on February 16.

The statement read: “We refute the idea that NATO is a defensive alliance, and believe its record in Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and Libya over the last generation, not to mention the US-British attack on Iraq, clearly proves otherwise.

“We support all efforts to reach new arms control agreements in Europe and to move towards nuclear disarmament across the continent.

“We urge the entire anti-war movement to unite on the basis of challenging the British government’s aggressive posturing and direct its campaigning to that end above all.”

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Diane Abbott

John McDonnell

Richard Burgon

Ian Lavery

Beth Winter

Zarah Sultana

Mick Whiteley

Tahir Ali

Claudia Webbe

Ian Mearns

Bell Ribeiro-Addy

Pauline Bryan House of Lords

Christine Blower House of Lords

Lord John Hendy QC

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