UK lawmakers pass motion to recognise Palestine as a state

Lawmakers voted by 274 to 12 to pass symbolic non-binding motion

A  pro-Palestine demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament in London on Monday. Photograph: Luke MacGregor/Reuters

A pro-Palestine demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament in London on Monday. Photograph: Luke MacGregor/Reuters

 

British lawmakers have voted in favour of recognising Palestine as a state in a move that will not alter the government’s stance on the issue, but that carries symbolic value for Palestinians in their pursuit of statehood.

Lawmakers in Britain’s lower house of parliament voted by 274 to 12 to pass a non-binding motion stating: “That this House believes that the Government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution.”

Britain does not classify Palestine as a state, but says it could do so at any time if it believed it would help peace efforts between the Palestinians and Israel. Government ministers were told to abstain and the non-binding vote will not force Britain to recognise a Palestinian state.

The motion was tabled by Labour’s Grahame Morris, who said it was right to take the “small but symbolically important” step. Tobias Ellwood, the Middle East minister, said the UK government is a “staunch supporter” of Israel’s right to defend itself, but added that its settlement-building makes “it hard for Israel’s friends to make the case that Israel is committed to peace”. – (Reuters)