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One thing that has never ceased to amaze me as an MP is the wide ranging level of issues I’m contacted about by my constituents, whether it be personal casework concerns, local planning decisions or issues of national importance. Not a day goes by where my inbox, phone calls to my office and advice surgeries don't have a varied selection of subjects.
I am also incredibly touched and humbled by the level of care and compassion shown by my constituents when we are faced with truly horrific and world changing events, from the London bombings of 7/7 to the conflict in Syria. The people I am proud to represent in Tooting never fail to let me know when they feel strongly about an issue - or when they feel there is an injustice that needs addressing.
These last few weeks I have been inundated with messages from concerned people who have been, like me, absolutely appalled by the events unfolding in Gaza. Despite events taking place over 2,000 miles from London, the level of suffering we have been faced with on our TV screens day after day has been so upsetting and has left many of us feeling helpless. As a husband and father, the images of wounded children, hospitals struggling to cope with the ever increasing casualty toll and the relentless barrage of fire power against them has been too much to bear.
As an opposition party MP in South London it is often difficult to have a direct effect on what is an extremely complex and deep rooted dispute in another country, but that doesn’t mean we should remain silent. I have done what any MP in this situation should do and that is to convey the very grave concerns of my constituents to the highest level possible. That’s why I have written to both the Foreign Secretary and Secretary of State for International Development to both share mine and my constituents’ fears but also to lobby them in making sure that the UK government does everything in its power to bring about an end to the violence, help those that have been affected by this conflict and to assist in getting a peace process in place as soon as possible.
Like many readers of the South London Press, I have been extremely disappointed by the lack of action from the British Government. I have been very critical of their failure to openly condemn the disproportionate actions of the Israeli military, which has killed nearly 2000 people and injured thousands more. Yes of course, Hamas shouldn't be firing rockets into Israel. But for me, this isn’t about scoring political points, it’s about addressing a humanitarian crisis and being clear in our opinions about those responsible for it. The government need to do the same.
At the time of writing there is a ceasefire in place and peace talks are ongoing in Cairo. I sincerely hope, for the sake of all those involved, that significant progress is now made to bring about a long lasting peace agreement and that no more lives are lost.
Sadiq Khan MP
Member of Parliament for Tooting