When the UK government finally proscribe Hezbollah earlier this year, the Labour leadership refused to support the ban.
Now, following revelations earlier this week that Hezbollah was behind the hoard of three tons of explosives discovered in London in 2015, a Labour MP is calling upon her party to acknowledge the ban.
Dame Louise Ellman’s “urgent” letter to Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott urges the party to support the full proscription of Hezbollah because to not do so was now “untenable”.
“I am deeply concerned that Labour has refused to support calls for the full proscription of Hezbollah, even after the Government’s U-turn on the issue,” said Ellman, Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside.
“The bomb materials may have been gathered as part of a plot to kill British Jews,” she said, adding: “In light of these revelations, continued opposition to the full proscription of Hezbollah by the Labour Party is untenable.”
On the day Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced that the UK was proscribing Hezbollah in its entirety, Labour shockingly challenged the decision and called upon the Home Secretary to prove the validity of the ban and accused Javid of banning the group because of “leadership ambitions”.
A Labour Party spokesperson said:
“The Home Office has previously ruled that there was not sufficient evidence that the political wing of Hezbollah fell foul of proscription criteria, a position confirmed by ministers in the House of Commons last year.”
“Ministers have not yet provided any clear evidence to suggest this has changed.”
“It has also rightly been the view of the Foreign Office for many years that proscribing the political wing of Hezbollah, which is part of the democratically elected Lebanese government, would make it difficult to maintain normal diplomatic relations with Lebanon, or to work with the government on humanitarian issues, including those facing Syrian refugees, in parts of the country controlled by Hezbollah.”
“Decisions on the proscription of organisations as terror groups are supposed to be made on the advice of civil servants based on clear evidence that those organisations fall foul of the proscription criteria set out in legislation.”
“The Home Secretary must therefore now demonstrate that this decision was taken in an objective and impartial way, and driven by clear and new evidence, not by his leadership ambitions.”
“We support the government in its decision to proscribe the groups Jamaat Nusrat al Islam Wall Muslimin and Ansaroul Islam.”
CUFI led calls for the outright banning of Hezbollah, with more than 20,000 people signing a CUFI UK petition calling for the ban with thousands more CUFI supporters writing to the Government.
Until now, Britain had only banned its “military” arm but not its “political” wing meaning there was a legal loophole currently allowing support for the organisation to grow. However, Hezbollah, by its own admission, does not differentiate between its political and military wings.
Hezbollah calls for an Islamist revolution around the world, has carried out terror attacks for over 30 years, and calls for the “liberation of Jerusalem” and for the destruction of Israel. Backed by Iran, it has tens of thousands of rockets that can reach every city in Israel.
Earlier this week, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, Colonel Richard Kemp, warned how Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister would stop Britain’s intelligence sharing relationship with Israel.
Colonel Kemp, who is also a national security expert, said
“Mossad tipped off UK on Hezbollah bomb plot in London in 2015. One of many intelligence warnings provided to the UK by Israel,” Kemp tweeted, “This would be stopped if Corbyn came to power, not by Israel but by Corbyn — he would terminate our intelligence relationship.”
Speaking on Tuesday during a briefing of MPs in Parliament and attended by CUFI, Colonel Kemp said the disruption of the Hezbollah plot was just one example of the vast amount of valuable Israeli intelligence Israel provides which saves the lives of British citizens here in the UK and around the world.