Labour's candidate for the Rochdale by-election, Azhar Ali, made comments suggesting that Israel allowed Hamas's 7 October attacks to provide grounds to invade Gaza, prompting Labour to face backlash and calls to remove his candidacy.
Why it matters
The controversy has reignited the debate over antisemitism within the Labour party and raised questions about the party's handling of sensitive issues, impacting its reputation and potentially influencing the outcome of the upcoming by-election.
What the papers say
The Independent emphasizes the pressure on Labour and Sir Keir Starmer to address the controversy, while The Guardian highlights criticism of Labour's support for the candidate and the potential impact on the party's reputation.
How we got here
The controversy stems from comments made by Labour's candidate, Azhar Ali, regarding Israel's actions in Gaza, leading to calls for Labour to reconsider its support for him in the upcoming by-election.
More on these topics
Sir Keir Rodney Starmer KCB QC MP is a British politician and former lawyer who has served as Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition since 2020. He has been Member of Parliament for Holborn and St Pancras since 2015.
The Labour Party is a centre-left political party in the United Kingdom that has been described as an alliance of social democrats, democratic socialists and trade unionists.
Rochdale is a large town in Greater Manchester, England, at the foothills of the South Pennines in the dale on the River Roch, 5.3 miles northwest of Oldham and 9.8 miles northeast of Manchester.
Hamas is a Palestinian Sunni-Islamic fundamentalist militant organization. It has a social service wing, Dawah, and a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.