A Labour peer is among nine members of a Glasgow branch who have resigned over the leadership's position on the conflict in Gaza.

Nine of the leaders of the Glasgow Kelvin CLP, including Baroness Bryan of Partick, have stepped down after accusing Scottish Labour of stifling debate on Israel and Palestine.

The resignations follow the submission of a motion calling on Anas Sarwar to press for a cessation of Israeli military action, the establishment of a humanitarian corridor and the release of hostages.

That motion was due to be debated at a meeting on Thursday, October 19, but the group says that immediately after publication of the meeting agenda, party officials wrote to all CLPs saying that “any motions” about Gaza would be “out of order and should not be debated at party meetings”. 

A letter signed by nine of the members read: "We have been informed by the General Secretary and the Scottish General Secretary that any motions relating to the situation in Israel and Gaza are out of order for all CLPs.

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"It seems preposterous to us that a local political party cannot have a substantive discussion on contemporary events which are commanding the attention of the entire world.

"We believe that the Emergency Motion which was submitted for debate was perfectly valid, and we refute any suggestion by party officials that the mere discussion of the Gaza situation would be “prejudicial or grossly detrimental to the Labour Party” (message from the General Secretary).

"On the contrary, we believe that the absence of such discussion brings our party into disrepute.

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"The Labour Party Rule book states, as one of the Aims and Values for CLPs:

'To provide the opportunity for all individual members of the Party within the constituency to contribute to the development of the aims and policies … and … participate fully in discussion to broaden the political education of members of the Party and to increase their influence over the formulation of the Party programme' (Chapter 7, Clause II, 2D).

"We cannot fulfil this Aim if we are forced to shut down debate, and we refuse to be part of a party machinery which stifles democracy.

"Accordingly, we hereby resign our positions on the Executive Committee of Glasgow Kelvin CLP."

The nine members who have resigned are: 

Jim MacKechnie – Chair

Jennifer Young – Vice Chair

Kim Bonnar – Vice Chair

Peter Duffy – Secretary

Pauline Bryan – Treasurer

Vince Mills – Policy Officer

Diarmaid Kelliher – Trades Union Liaison Officer

Agnes Tolmie – Women’s Officer

David Conway – Disability Officer

A spokesperson for Scottish Labour said: “Scottish Labour has repeatedly and unequivocally condemned the actions of Hamas. There is no justification for the loss of innocent life and the targeting of civilians.

"Every life should be treated equally and so there should be no collective punishment of the Palestinian people.

"We will all have been devastated by the scenes at the Al-Ahli Hospital where hundreds have been killed.

"That brutality can’t be justified and must end.

“The entire Labour Party is united in demanding the free flow of medicine, food, water and electricity in to Gaza. Humanitarian corridors must be opened and all action must be in line with international law.

“The Labour Party continue to believe strongly in the cause of peace in the region through a two-state solution that delivers security, peace and freedom for all through a sovereign state of Israel and a sovereign state of Palestine with an end to occupation and the siege.

"Only when all life is treated as equal can we achieve peace.”