Rushanara Ali resigns from Shadow Minister
Bangladesh-born British MP Rushanara Ali has resigned from opposition front bench to abstain from a vote in UK Parliament that approved airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq.
After a seven-hour debate, the House of Commons voted for military action by 524 votes to 43 on Friday.
But British daily The Guardian on its live blog said Rushanara Ali voted for the motion, but also against it while being “actively abstained”.
Ali’s resignation as shadow education minister came in a letter to Labour leader Ed Miliband.
It read: “It has been an enormous privilege to serve on the Shadow Front Bench in two different roles in the past four years.
“It is therefore with great regret that I tender my resignation as a Shadow Minister in advance of the vote today on military action in Iraq against ISIL.”
The Labour MP said, “I understand the case that has been made and will not be voting against the motion. But I am unable in conscience to support the motion and I will make a deliberate abstention.”
The Sylhet-born politician said she shared other MPs’ revulsion at the “horrific and barbaric” actions of IS – also known as ISIL or Isis – but was concerned that military action would create further bloodshed for the people of Iraq.
In the letter, Ali said she had ‘no confidence’ that the potential impact on radicalisation in the UK had been properly thought through.
She will, however, continue to be the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, situated in London’s East End and has a very large Muslim population.
The Muslim MP was appointed a frontbench spokeswoman on education last year, having previously served as shadow minister for international development.
She re-took that seat for Labour Party in 2010 from George Galloway who had taken it for Respect Party in 2005 on an anti-war ticket.
Ali resigned when her bench supported the government motion to begin airstrikes in Iraq.