EXCLUSIVE: Major fund-raising event has been cancelled over fears of protest against shadow cabinet member by local Muslims angered by Starmer’s failure to call for a ceasefire in Gaza. By STEVEN DOWNES
The Croydon Labour Party has cancelled a gala dinner planned for tomorrow night after complaints from local Imams and other Muslims over the party’s obdurate stance in failing to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.
The dinner, “Labour Road to Victory Fundraiser”, was to have been held at the Grand Sapphire Hotel off the Purley Way, with shadow cabinet member Steve Reed, the Croydon North MP, an honoured guest.
It is thought that almost 200 people had bought £45 tickets for the event.
But an announcement issued today by the event organisers said, “We apologise for any inconvenience, but this has been postponed.”
Apparently, “All tickets will be valid for a future event.” Which is nice…
Since October 7, when Hamas terrorists conducted a vicious attack on Israeli settlements outside Gaza, it is reckoned that more than 7,000 Palestinians have been killed, 4,000 of them children, in attacks conducted by the Israeli Defence Force.
According to UNICEF, the number of internally displaced people has reached 1.4million, with more than 550,000 seeking refuge in the 150 UN-run schools that are serving as shelters in the central and southern areas of the Gaza Strip.
“The children and families are living in very crowded and dire conditions with little or no access to basic supplies,” UNICEF reports.
On Friday, 120 countries voted for a United Nations resolution calling for a “sustained humanitarian truce” in Gaza, as Israel’s military announced it is “expanding ground operations”.
The Labour Party in Britain has been mired in controversy after its leader, Sir Keir Starmer, took the position that Israel was in some way justified in carrying out the Gaza attacks on civilians, while denying them food, water and fuel, acts which have been roundly condemned elsewhere as war crimes.
Starmer made no change to his position at a Chatham House speech yesterday, despite growing dissent within the Labour Party, including the Parliamentary Labour Party.
So far, 66 Labour MPs have called for a ceasefire (16 of them frontbenchers, though not either of Croydon’s MPs, Reed or Sarah Jones), as have the Labour Mayors of London, Greater Manchester and Yorkshire. Hundreds of Labour local councillors have joined the calls for a ceasefire, with 34 of them resigning from the party over the issue.
No councillors in Croydon Labour – which is reputed to be closely monitored by Reed – have made calls for a ceasefire. No Croydon Labour councillors have resigned.
Labour sources tonight suggested that staging the fund-raising dinner had been deemed to be “inappropriate”.
But others suggest that the decision to cancel the event was taken after multiple messages began circulating on WhatsApp groups in which the real “inappropriateness” of the dinner was exposed. Muslims and supporters of Palestine were called on to boycott the dinner and to join a demonstration outside the Grand Sapphire Hotel.
Some suggested that pressure was also being put on the hotel’s owner, Suleman Raza, himself a Muslim, to cancel the event as a protest against Starmer and Reed’s position on Gaza.
In one of the social media messages, it says, “On Thursday 2nd November, the Croydon Labour Group are holding a fundraising Banquet at the Grand Sapphire Hotel and Banqueting Suite to raise funds for Steve Reed’s (and others) re-election to Parliament.
“Whilst the children in Gaza starve, can’t find drinking water and are being bombed, Steve and his supporters will feast, whilst refusing to call for a ceasefire.”
And in a further online message, it outlined that Reed had described Starmer’s “opposition to a ceasefire as being ‘consistent’, although the UN Human Rights Commission calls an immediate ceasefire ‘imperative'”.
The note continued: “Reed promises that if Labour gets into power he will prevent local authorities from divesting pension funds from unethical Israeli companies which are complicit in the illegal occupation of Palestinian land.
“Reed has been exposed as being supported by the pro-Israel lobby,” the statement read, providing a link to coverage from 12 months ago of a meeting the MP had with an influential Israeli donor.
When contacted by Inside Croydon tonight about their cancelled bun fight, a Labour organiser declined to comment.
Read more: Only one Croydon MP attended mosques’ emergency meetings
Read more: Starmer’s Labour is ‘losing members, losing funds, losing staff’
Read more: #TheLabourFiles: MP Reed, Evans and the Croydon connection
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