John Cryer calls for Gaza ceasefire

In an email to constituents, the Leyton and Wanstead MP said it was ‘difficult to see what the continued military offensive in southern Gaza is achieving’

By Marco Marcelline

John Cryer MP

Leyton and Wanstead MP John Cryer has called for an Israel-Hamas ceasefire, a shift from his previous position of backing humanitarian pauses.

In an email sent to constituents, Cryer cited the UN Security Council’s “[failure] to agree a resolution on Gaza” as one of “among other things” that have “changed the situation in the Middle East”.

Cryer added: “It is difficult to see what the continued military offensive in southern Gaza is achieving.”

He continued: “I have received thousands of emails about Gaza and Israel since October 7th, covering every shade of opinion. In response to those emails, I have always sought to give my honest view of the situation and the above is the same. I will also seek to argue the above in the coming weeks.”

Cryer, who was contacted for comment, told the Echo last month that the “best chance to save people is to secure cessations in hostilities, to get aid through via a pause”.

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He added: “No one in their right mind wants this to continue, but how do you get a ceasefire when the bombs are falling on Gaza, the rockets are falling on Israel and more than 200 are being held hostage? If a ceasefire were to take place it would need both sides to agree – which seems unlikely and for both sides to agree to someone to broker it.”

A ceasefire brokered by Qatar between Hamas and Israel went into effect on 24th November and lasted until 30th November when both parties accused each other of wrecking the truce agreement.

The Gaza health ministry has said over 17,700 Palestinians have died in Gaza since October 7th, with the majority being women and children. 1.3 million Gazans are in overcrowded UN-run refugee shelters with limited access to food and water. 

Constituent and Palestine activist Hil Aked welcomed Cryer’s move, describing it as a “victory for grassroots people power” that showed how “we have power as local constituents’”. 

“It’s better late than never that John Cryer has come round and we hope he will now push hard to end the slaughter in Gaza. We believe that Palestine will be free.”

Hil added that they “hope” for other Labour shadow ministers like Tottenham MP and Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy to also back an immediate ceasefire. 

Irfan Akhtar of the Waltham Forest Council of Mosques (WFCOM) said: “We’re glad and welcome the change of position. People [in Gaza] are dying not daily but through the minute. We will continue putting pressure on a local level.”

Irfan added that a ceasefire was a “welcome” first step to addressing the conflict: “We want our politicians to call for the end of the Israeli occupation. There’s no peace, there’s no justice in an apartheid that needs to be dismantled.” 

Two protests by Palestine activists, one on November 9th and a second on 23rd November, have been held outside Cryer’s Leytonstone office. Organisers said over 100 attended the second protest which was called in response to his decision to abstain on a motion in Parliament for a ceasefire.

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