A Durham MP this evening voted for a ceasefire in Gaza and subsequently quit her post as a Parliamentary private secretary as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer faced a frontbench rebellion.

City of Durham MP Mary Kelly Foy has tonight (November 15) voted to support an SNP amendment to the King’s Speech backing a ceasefire as conflict between Palestine and Israel, defying a three-line whip.

MPs voted 293 to 125, a majority of 168, to reject the SNP’s King’s Speech amendment calling for “all parties to agree to an immediate ceasefire”.

Now former parliamentary private secretary Ms Foy confirmed her position in a short statement on X (formerly Twitter).

She said: “I've voted for a ceasefire, which is backed by the UN & its agencies, over 700 NGOs, Pontifex & the majority of the British public - including 100s of my constituents in the City of Durham.

“I'll now return to the NE, my dad is very unwell. Please excuse me if I seem quieter.”

Now, Labour has lost a total of eight frontbenchers following the rebellion.

Four shadow ministers, including Jess Phillips, Yasmin Qureshi, Afzal Khan and Paula Barker, quit.

Other frontbenchers Rachel Hopkins, Sarah Owen, Naz Shah and Andy Slaughter have also left the frontbench after breaking the party whip to back the amendment.

Fellow parliamentary private secretary Dan Carden also left his post.

In a statement following the vote, Sir Keir said he regretted that party colleagues had not backed his position.

“Alongside leaders around the world, I have called throughout for adherence to international law, for humanitarian pauses to allow access for aid, food, water, utilities and medicine, and have expressed our concerns at the scale of civilian casualties.

“Much more needs to be done in this regard to ease the humanitarian crisis that is unfolding in Gaza.

“And in addition to addressing the present, every leader has a duty not to go back to a failed strategy of containment and neglect, but to forge a better and more secure future for both Palestinians and Israelis.

“I regret that some colleagues felt unable to support the position tonight. But I wanted to be clear about where I stood, and where I will stand.”

Ms Phillips, a high-profile frontbencher, said it was with a “heavy heart” that she was quitting.

“I have tried to do everything that I could to make it so that this was not the outcome, but it is with a heavy heart that I will be leaving my post in the shadow Home Office team.

“On this occasion I must vote with my constituents, my head, and my heart which has felt as if it were breaking over the last four weeks with the horror of the situation in Israel and Palestine,” she said in a letter to her party leader.

Some of the MPs had signalled their intention to break with Sir Keir in the Commons debate preceding the vote, after already having called publicly for a ceasefire.

Ms Shah warned of a “humanitarian catastrophe”, while Mr Khan told the chamber that his “constituents have demanded” a ceasefire.


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The scale of the rebellion will be a blow to Sir Keir, who had hoped to avoid further damaging splits within his parliamentary party over the issue.

The party has been riven with internal divisions over Israel’s response to the deadly incursion by Hamas that sparked the conflict.

The leadership has backed the UK Government’s position of pushing for humanitarian pauses in the fighting to allow aid to reach Palestinians trapped in the bombarded territory but has stopped short of calling for a total cessation of hostilities.