The British Prime Minister David Cameron might be on holiday, but it isn’t the sun making him red in the face. Yesterday, Baroness Warsi gave her first interview after resigning from the government on Tuesday over the Gaza Crisis, and it was a scorching affair. She warned that the Tories “will not win” a majority at the next election and cast veiled accusations against the party for receiving funding from the Jewish lobby. “I sincerely hope that how the Tory party raises its funds does not have an impact in relation to its policy in government,” she said. Baronness Warsi was the first female Muslim in cabinet.
The blow will be a personal one for David Cameron, who has been close to Baroness Warsi ever since she helped him achieve the party leadership in 2005. But the woman who was once chair of the Conservative party was demoted in 2012 to minister for faith and communities and has revealed that Cameron’s private-educated allies saw her as “a brown, working-class woman… not good enough” to sit with the top brass. “Some of the bitchiest women I’ve ever met in my life are the men in politics,” she said.
Warsi has been calling for more action over the Gaza Crisis from its beginning, but since resigning, her whispers have turned into shouts. She has pushed for the prime minister to recognize a Palestinian state and stop trading arms with Israel, and has also criticized Cameron’s desire for a two-state solution. She said, “if you have a naughty child, you don’t meet its demands. You tell it to stop being naughty.”
The Liberal Democrats have now stated that they would support an arms embargo, but Warsi has claimed that they “are being quite disingenuous.” The government’s coalition partners never spoke up in support of her position whilst she was in government, she said, and “it would have been helpful if I’d had two or three Lib Dem voices giving support to me.” She argued that “the morally indefensible Gaza policy is a failing of the coalition, not just a failure of the Conservative party.”
But she has saved her greatest criticism for Cameron’s inner circle. Chancellor George Osbourne and Michael Gove, the former education secretary demoted to chief party whip, “are very, very close to the Israeli government and the Israeli leadership. What is the point of having that strong relationship if you can’t use it to move them to a position which is in their interests and our interests?”
Criticism for Cameron’s position has come from outside his party too, with the Labour leader Ed Miliband saying that the government needs to “send a much clearer message.” Miliband has also called on Cameron to acknowledge that the Israeli approach to the Crisis is “unjustifiable.” Meanwhile, BBC World Service has released a poll suggesting that 72% of Brits see Israel in a negative light.
Image Credit: “Baronness Sayeeda Warsi.” Flickr: Creative Commons. Flickr, n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2014. <https://flic.kr/p/8D9fDL>