LABOUR’S parliamentary candidate for Stroud, David Drew, has asked for parliament to be re-called so that more voices can be heard on the Gaza crisis.
Mr Drew’s request was made in response to comments made by the newly appointed foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, when he visited the Stroud News & Journal office on Thursday.
The secretary of state had been in Cheltenham earlier in the day visiting GCHQ to show his support for the staff and the work they do following a difficult year plagued mainly by the Snowden revelations.
Mr Hammond, who replaced William Hague as secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs in the reshuffle, then stopped by the paper's offices in Lansdown with Stroud MP Neil Carmichael to meet the editorial team.
Speaking to the SNJ Mr Hammond said the most trying aspect of his first two weeks has been the terrible ongoing and escalating humanitarian disaster in Gaza.
The disproportionate number of casualties – 1,800 Palestinians to 66 Israelis at time of writing – has caused outcry in much of the western world, including in Stroud, where a vigil for Gaza is being held every Saturday between noon and 1pm until fighting stops.
Mr Hammond said the main focus at the moment was securing an unconditional humanitarian ceasefire and then in the fullness of time each party of the parties will have to account for their actions.
“Israel knows that all their responses have to be legal,” he added.
“We are all appalled by the loss of life but the issue is about what the targets were.
“Whether they were military targets being attacked and whether the attack on those military targets was proportional – and that is a complicated question.”
The foreign secretary also dismissed the need to re-call parliament.
“If parliament was sitting it would be urging the government to do everything possible to secure an immediate ceasefire and that is what we are doing,” he said.
However Mr Drew has hit back saying that parliament should be sitting so that a range of voices can be heard.
“The problem is there’s just one voice being presented and personally I would urge much stronger condemnation of Israel’s actions.”