|Dawn Butler with lobbyists|
As part of a national lobby day organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) on 23 June 2015, recently elected Brent Central MP Dawn Butler met seven of her constituents in parliament to discuss various issues related to Palestine and British military and commercial ties with the state of Israel.
During the PSC’s pre-election campaign, Ms Butler had provided assurances that she was pro-Palestinian and supported various measures in support of Palestinian human rights. During the meeting, which lasted around 30 minutes, she echoed such views, comparing the disparity in the balance of power between the Israelis and Palestinians and the effective situation on the ground to apartheid in South Africa. Ms Butler stated that the Israeli state has a right to defend itself but that its exercise of this right is disproportionate.
The Palestinian issue is of broad interest to residents in the north London borough of Brent across all communities, and constituents raised issues of concern to them and their fellow residents, including lifting the siege of Gaza, to allow the free movement of people, goods and humanitarian aid. Ms Butler agreed that the blockade should be lifted immediately, and agreed to sign related parliamentary motions on the issue.
Other issues raised include ending the arms trade with Israel and all military collaboration, including the sales of weapons and components, and taking steps to ensure products made in Israeli settlements, which Ms Butler agrees are illegal and unjustifiable, are not sold in the UK. On all issues, Ms Butler said she was willing to put questions to ministers and work with constituents on their concerns. She also said that she was planning to visit Gaza to see the situation for herself.