The Labour party has a problem with Muslims. A new poll suggests that British Muslim voters, who have traditionally supported Labour in huge numbers, are deserting the party over its handling of the Israel-Gaza war.
Backing for Labour from the Muslim community has fallen massively since the 2019 general election from 86 per cent to 60 per cent, according to a poll conducted by Survation. It was commissioned by the Labour Muslim Network (LMN), which promotes British Muslim engagement with the party.
This isn’t the only finding that will set alarm bells ringing: 38 per cent of Muslims said their views of Labour had become more unfavourable in recent months, while a whopping 85 per cent said policy on Israel-Palestine would be important in deciding how they cast their vote at the upcoming general election. A spokesman for LMN warned that the findings pointed to a ‘crisis point’ for Labour’s relationship with Muslim voters and that the party that it risked losing a ‘generation’ of potential new voters.
Trouble has been brewing ever since the 7 October Hamas attack on Israel. The Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer initially appeared to defend Israel’s decision to shut off water and power to Gaza. That stance that did not go down too well with some Labour MPs and their Muslim constituents. He eventually rowed back on his remarks but by then the damage had been done.
There was further dissension in the Labour ranks when Starmer’s MPs were instructed not to vote for a ceasefire during a Commons debate in November. This led to the resignation of several shadow cabinet members, along with a number of local councillors across the country.