Lord Cameron faces backlash after he hints at move to recognise Palestinian state

Lord Cameron faces backlash after he hints at move to recognise Palestinian state

Lord David Cameron has faced a backlash from Conservative MPs after he suggested the UK was moving towards recognising a Palestinian state.

Speaking to the Conservative Middle East Council on Monday, the foreign secretary said the UK “should be starting to set out what a Palestinian state would look like – what it would comprise, how it would work”.

He added: “As that happens, we, with allies, will look at the issue of recognising a Palestinian state, including at the United Nations. This could be one of the things that helps to make this process irreversible.”

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Since the remarks were reported, a number of Tory MPs – including former ministers – criticised the proposal in the Commons.

Theresa Villiers said the move would “reward Hamas’s atrocities”, while Sir Michael Ellis said it risked giving “dangerous actors” the “trimmings and capabilities of a state”.

Another ex-minister, Stephen Crabb, said, while the gesture was “noble”, he wondered what “talk about early recognition” would achieve.

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MP Greg Smith added: “Surely the only political objective in Gaza is inextricably linked to the security objectives in Gaza, because the grim reality is that Hamas does not seek a ceasefire and Israel cannot be reasonably expected to pursue one with a group that actively seeks its destruction.”

Downing Street insisted the UK had not changed its approach, with the prime minister’s official spokesperson saying: “We’ve always been clear that we will recognise a Palestinian state at a time it best serves the cause of peace and we are committed to the two-state solution.”

The i newspaper has now reported Lord Cameron failed to clear his speech with Number 10 before making it.

Responding to the claim, a government source said it was a “long-standing” policy to seek a two-state solution, and Lord Cameron was just “setting that out”.

They added the government acknowledged the attacks in Israel on 7 October had “set back progress”.