BARONESS WARSI resigned as Faith and Communities Minister on
Tuesday in protest at the Government's policy on Gaza, which she
described as "morally indefensible".
In her resignation letter to the Prime Minister, she wrote that
the UK's position on the Middle East was not in the country's
national interest, or consistent with the rule of law. The letter
also warned that Britain's response to the war in Gaza could become
a "basis for radicalisation".
"I always said that long after life in politics I must be able
to live with myself for the decisions I took, " she wrote. "By
staying in Government at this time I do not feel I can be sure of
In response, Mr Cameron said that he was sorry that she had
resigned, although he understood her "strength of feeling", and he
described the situation in Gaza as "intolerable". He said that
British policy was to support Israel's right to defend itself, but
also to call for a two-state solution to the decades-long
"We have consistently made clear our grave concerns about the
heavy toll of civilian casualties and have called on Israel to
exercise restraint," he said.
In office, Lady Warsi had focused on persecution against
religious minorities around the world, including Christians. She
had previously been Chairman of the Conservative Party, but was
moved in 2012 to her most recent appointment, which was at both the
Foreign Office and the Department for Communities and Local
The Chancellor, George Osborne, said that Lady Warsi's
resignation was "disappointing and frankly unnecessary". But the
Labour leader, Ed Miliband, said that she had been right to resign,
and that the Government was wrong to not condemn Israel's
bombardment of Gaza.
In an interview after her resignation, Lady Warsi called for an
arms embargo against Israel. She told The Huffington Post:
"It appals me that the British government continues to allow the
sale of weapons to a country, Israel, that has killed almost 2000
people, including hundreds of kids, in the past four weeks
Her portfolio as Minister for Faith has been added to that of
the Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, whom Lady Warsi praised in
"Eric Pickles has supported me tirelessly in our work on
combating hate crime, challenging anti-Semitism and Islamophobia,
and the pioneering work of celebrating faith in the public sphere,"
In a speech last year, Mr Pickles criticised "the intolerance of
aggressive secularism". His speech referred to Christians' having
been told not to wear a cross or rosary at work, and to legal
action against prayers at the start of council meetings (News,
18 January 2013).