Wed. Jun 26th, 2024

Sir Ed Davey calls for ceasefire in the Middle East and targets Tory defeat

By Josh Smith Mar 15, 2024
Sir Ed Davey is getting his party ready for the general election. Photo: Dinendra Haria/LNP/Shutterstock

An “immediate bilateral ceasefire” must happen in the Israel and Hamas war, Sir Ed Davey, the Kingston and Surbiton MP and Liberal Democrat leader, told The River. 

The Lib Dems called for a ceasefire in November when the conflict was only a month old. But the situation has escalated with the number of Palestinian deaths now over 30,000 as the war enters its sixth month, according to the UN. 

“How anyone could not want an immediate bilateral ceasefire is beyond me. It has to happen, the killing has to stop,” Davey said.

“You need it to free the hostages, you need it to let the aid in because people are dying of hunger now, and you need it to start the peace process to get to a two-state solution.”

Davey, who visited Israel and the West Bank in February, spoke of the “trauma on both sides” of the conflict that began when Hamas fighters attacked Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people, and capturing 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

While there he visited Kfar Aza kibbutz and the site of the music festival at Re’im where the pictures of those who were killed in the attack are placed, describing it as “truly horrific”.

But he also highlighted the “utter carnage the Palestinian people are going through in Gaza” and called for diplomatic efforts to achieve a genuine peace solution.

“We were the first UK-wide party to call for an immediate bilateral ceasefire months ago now. The Tories and Labour have been fairly hopeless on that,” Davey said.

In anticipation of the upcoming UK general election, Davey outlined his party’s focus on defeating the Conservatives and removing them from power.

Recent polls suggest a significant decline in support for the Conservatives with Labour leading by a significant margin. The Tories are set to go from a 365-seat majority to just 113 seats, according to Election Calculus.

The Lib Dems are currently polling in fourth place behind Labour, Conservative and Reform, but are set to gain the third most seats going from their current tally of 11 up to 40.

“I am an anti-Conservative politician,” Davey said. “The country wants to get rid of this appalling, right-wing, dreadful, uncaring, incompetent useless, disgraceful government and all my efforts are in that, and if I am honest with you, I think we are key to that.”

Davey also ruled out forming a coalition with the Conservatives while he is the party leader.

The LibDems and the Conservatives entered a coalition in 2010 when the party was under the leadership of Nick Clegg.

“Under my leadership, there is not a chance that we would do a deal with the Conservatives, I have ruled it out before, and I am happy to rule it again,” Davey said.

However, he did not rule out doing a deal with Labour saying it was “not in my hands” and “it’s up to labour as much as anyone else”.

Davey unveiling a new poster campaign earlier in the year. Photo: Dinendra Haria/LNP/Shutterstock

He framed the upcoming election as an “anti-Conservative” election, positioning Labour and the LibDems as the viable alternatives for voters seeking change.

While the Lib Dems aim to contest every constituency, the reality of politics means that they cannot realistically compete for every seat, meaning they have to be strategic in choosing where the party campaigns heavily.

Locally, the Lib Dems currently hold Kingston and Surbiton as well as Richmond Park where Sarah Olney is the MP, and Twickenham where Munira Wilson is the MP.

Davey is also targeting Wimbledon where the Lib Dems lost out to the Tories by 628 votes in 2019.

“In this part of London and Southwest London, in Sutton, in Richmond, in Merton, in Surrey, we actually think we are the ones to beat the Conservatives,” he said.

A big part of the Lib Dem campaign will be the environment, especially issues around sewage and water pollution.

The Lib Dems campaign on sewage started with some of Davey’s own campaigning around the Hogsmill River, which runs through the Kingston borough.

The river is prone to sewage spills and overflows from Thames Water’s sewage treatment plant, causing the river to be polluted which harms the local biodiversity.

“Sewage was an issue that really wasn’t getting the political attention that it deserved, water companies were getting away with it and the regulators weren’t being tough enough,” Davey said.

He said the Lib Dems have been developing a pioneering heating network for the Cambridge Road estate in Norbiton that would be powered by the heat from the Hogsmill river and the sewage works.

“The environment campaign is massive to who we are, who I am and what we want to achieve,” he said.

Davey also positions his party as the “most reformist party” claiming he wants to make electoral reform by moving away from the current first past the post system and making the House of Lords another elected chamber as well as being pro-European.

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