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Op-Ed video: Who is the real threat to British democracy?

Silencing debate around the war, and sidelining international law, pose a major threat to Britain's democratic values, says David Hearst

The UK parliamentary ceasefire debate descended into chaotic scenes this week, with Scottish political leaders condemning Israel for “ruthlessly exploiting” the principle of self-defence to “legitimise the slaughter of innocent civilians” in Gaza.

The Scottish National Party (SNP), one of the opposition parties in the UK parliament, put forward a motion calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, which included condemnation of Israel for its "collective punishment" of the Palestinian people. 

Labour, the largest opposition party, then sought to table an amendment, which removed wording such as "collective punishment" and the "slaughter" of innocent civilians. 

Lindsay Hoyle, parliament's speaker, said he would break with precedent and allow a vote on Labour’s amendment before the SNP’s motion, despite receiving contradictory advice from officials.

That led to chaotic scenes in which SNP and Conservative MPs left the chamber in protest, leaving Labour's amendment to be approved without a vote. There was no further vote on the SNP motion.

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David Hearst, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye, says it's clear "who is subverting British democracy?"

The answer: "The unholy alliance of the neoconservatives and Islamophobes which attacks free speech, promotes anti-Muslim hatred and seeks to silence all debate on Israel".

According to Hearst, "poll after poll shows that a clear majority of Britons have had enough of this war - 66 percent are calling for a ceasefire without preconditions."

Hearst says that by silencing debate around the war, and sidelining international law, pose a major threat to Britain's democratic values.

The views expressed in this video belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

David Hearst is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye. He is a commentator and speaker on the region and analyst on Saudi Arabia. He was the Guardian's foreign leader writer, and was correspondent in Russia, Europe, and Belfast. He joined the Guardian from The Scotsman, where he was education correspondent.
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