Bedford and Kempston MP, Mohammad Yasin, has defended a video clip in which he tells a meeting that he intends to attend the Ceasefire Now March in London on Saturday (11 November) – Armistice Day.
The clip, which has been circulated on third-party social media channels, was filmed at a public meeting attended by Mr Yasin, at which he condemned the actions of Hamas and the Israeli government.
Mr Yasin told the Bedford Independent: “I attended a public meeting in Bedford to discuss the Israel-Gaza conflict and of course, the topic of the “Ceasefire Now March” was raised.
“In the same meeting, I also condemned Hamas, and the Israeli government’s bombardment of Gaza and the killing of all innocent people.
“As an MP I would always encourage responsible free speech and the right to peacefully protest in line with the law.”
Mr Yasin went on to say that it would be “wrong, very disrespectful and potentially unlawful if any protests disturbed Armistice Day services in London or anywhere else”.
He said: “It has been widely reported by reputable news outlets that the organisers of the event, which is calling for the de-escalation of violence and a ceasefire on both sides, has been carefully planned to start after the Armistice Day event.
“The protest groups have said they have “no intention of marching on or near Whitehall, in order not to disrupt events at the Cenotaph” on Sunday.”
Ahead of Saturday’s march in London, Mr Yasin attended a peaceful protest in Bedford town centre on Saturday 4 November, organised by the group, Islam Bedford.
It was attended by around 500 protesters and although there was a police presence, Bedfordshire Police told the Bedford Independent that it passed without incident.
The Labour Party, under leader Sir Keir Starmer, has refused to back a ceasefire in Gaza, causing several Labour MPs – including Mr Yasin – to rebel.
Sir Keir has called for a “humanitarian pause” in the conflict but continues to support Israel’s right to defend itself.
Earlier this month, Bedford Borough councillor Mohammed Mahboob Din who represents the Queen’s Park ward, resigned from the party.
Now standing as an independent councillor, he told the Bedford Independent: “I never considered the Labour party would make it so difficult for me to represent my community, or I would be made to feel so bad for having an opinion different to the Labour group.”
Speaking about Saturday’s march in London, Mr Yasin added, “Every year we remember the service and sacrifice of all those that have defended our freedoms and protected our way of life. We also remember those who have lost their lives as a result of conflict or terrorism.
“The lessons we’ve learned from the past is that in the end, killing innocent people is wrong and futile – only a diplomatic solution works which is why I’m calling for a ceasefire in the hope we can get there sooner rather than later.”