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Momentum Chair Hilary Schan Resigns from Labour to Lead Anti-MP Campaign Amid Criticism of Starmer’s Policies and Gaza Stance

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Hilary Schan, a prominent leftist within the party, resigns from her position as chair of Momentum to oppose Labour MPs in the upcoming election. She criticizes Labour for resembling the Tories too closely and denounces Sir Keir Starmer's approach to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Political correspondent @NifS

Sunday, May 5, 2024, 6:

A co-chair of the progressive group Momentum, associated with the Labour Party, has resigned from both her position and the party itself due to disagreements with Sir Keir Starmer's policy directions and his handling of the conflict in Gaza, which she described as "disgusting."

Hilary Schan, a councillor from Worthing, announced her decision to align with the We Deserve Better campaign led by journalist Owen Jones. This movement seeks to replace key Labour MPs with independent or Green Party representatives in the upcoming election.

The statement follows a strong showing for Labour in the local elections, although the party did experience setbacks in its longstanding council strongholds, particularly in regions with significant Muslim communities, due to its position on the Israel-Hamas conflict.

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Referring to studies predicting that Labour will emerge as the largest party in the upcoming election without securing a majority, Ms. Schan emphasized the importance of electing more "socialist representatives" to parliament. She believes this is crucial for urging Starmer to pay attention to progressive voters whom she feels he has overlooked.

She encouraged more people to support the campaign, presenting it as a different option to the ongoing competition between Labour and the Conservatives. She stated that the candidates they endorsed would "support the Palestinian cause and keep the forthcoming Labour government accountable."

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In a public declaration, Ms. Schan remarked, "After dedicating eight years to advocating for the Labour Party both at the local and national levels, and serving in various official capacities within the party as well as a Labour councillor, I find myself unable to continue, in all good conscience, within a party that, under the direction of Starmer, seems to increasingly deviate from its core principles, resembling at best a diluted version of the Conservative Party."

"Starmer has abandoned all his policy commitments aimed at repairing this fractured Britain, and I find myself unable to face my constituents and ask them to support a Labour government that will ultimately disappoint them.

As I've grappled with these matters, the appalling reaction of Labour to the tragic events in Gaza has shed light on my decision. I find it impossible to stay in a party whose leader has supported what many consider a war crime committed by Israel, and who still refuses to demand a halt to UK arms sales to Israel or denounce the actions of its government.

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During Jeremy Corbyn's tenure, Momentum emerged as a formidable force within the campaign landscape. However, as Sir Keir Starmer shifts the party's focus away from Corbyn's left-wing policies, Momentum has increasingly positioned itself as an external critic and a vocal opponent of the party's new direction.

Sir Keir faced backlash soon after the conflict in Gaza started, as he seemed to support Israel's decision to halt water and electricity supplies to the area, prompting several local council members to step down from the party.

Subsequently, the leader of the party attempted to elaborate on his previous statements, asserting that although Israel possesses the "right to self-defense," it does not have the authority to "block the essential humanitarian aid from entering."

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Labour experienced a division when the SNP initiated a vote for an instant ceasefire in Gaza, leading to the resignation of eight ministers and defiance from 56 MPs who ignored party instructions to oppose the motion.

Labour has shifted its stance to endorse calls for an immediate ceasefire, however, this adjustment was eclipsed by tumultuous events in parliament, which prevented the SNP from voting on its motion.

A spokesperson for Momentum commented: "It's truly disheartening that Keir Starmer’s Labour Party is now a place where dedicated activists such as Hilary, who tirelessly strive to bring about progressive transformations in their communities, no longer believe they belong."

Momentum continues to prioritize efforts towards shaping a democratic Labour party that regards its members and primary supporters as valuable assets rather than a burden.

"We will continue to advocate for genuine Labour policies that bring about the significant transformation the nation desperately needs, rather than persistent reversals and policies that favor corporations."

Sky News has reached out to the Labour Party seeking their response.

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