Rugby MP and Bishop of Coventry speak out on Palestine vote in House of Commons

Mark Pawsey MP
Mark Pawsey MP

Rugby MP Mark Pawsey has spoken of his reasons for supporting Britain officially recognising Palestine as an independent state.

Some 274 MPs voted to support the measure in the House of Commons last week.

A total of 12 MPs voted against the move, with Israel believing the step to be premature – but Mr Pawsey, who was promoted to a role in the Ministry of Defence in July, insists it is a vital part of efforts to bring peace to the area.

He said: “I recently visited the West Bank and Gaza and am acutely aware of the issues faced in the region. The Government has always been clear that it supports Palestinian statehood as part of a two-state solution brought about through negotiated settlement and I fully support this position.

“It was clear that there was consensus from all sides of the House to make urgent progress towards peace that will lead to a safe and secure Israel living alongside a viable sovereign Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders. The continuing troubles only strengthen the hand of extremists in the region and the Government is rightly committed to bringing about a just peace for both peoples.”

The Bishop of Coventry, the Church of England’s lead bishop for foreign affairs, gave his backing to the idea.

He said: “At a time of great uncertainty in the Middle East and North Africa, we hold that it is the reasonable aspiration of all peoples to belong to a state and enjoy the merits of full and active citizenship on their own lands. We equally believe that the right of Palestinians for such statehood has been long overdue.”

“We believe Palestinians should also have a state that they can at long last call home. Such a principled recognition by our Parliament and Government will facilitate rather than hamper the negotiations that would inevitably follow between Israelis and Palestinians to agree upon the details of this new and sovereign state created next to a secure Israel. Peace needs a bold vision.”