Israel-Hamas war: Conservative MP Paul Bristow sacked from government post after calling for Gaza ceasefire

A Conservative MP has been sacked from his government post after calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Paul Bristow has been asked to leave his position as a parliamentary private secretary (PPS) after writing to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to urge a "permanent" break in fighting between Israel and Hamas.

He was fired for comments that are "not consistent with the principles of collective responsibility," a Number 10 spokesperson said.

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Speaking later to Sky News, the Peterborough MP said: "I completely understand the PM's decision. And it is with regret I leave a job I enjoyed.

"But I can now talk openly about an issue so many of my constituents care deeply about. I believe I can do this better from the backbenches rather than as part of the government payroll."

Mr Bristow, who was a PPS at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT), wrote a two-page letter to Mr Sunak last Thursday.

A PPS is one of the most junior roles in government - and is often described as a "bag-carrier" for the more senior ministers.

The letter said: "Thousands have been killed and more than one million now displaced. It is difficult to understand how this makes Israel more secure or indeed makes anything better."

He welcomed calls from Mr Sunak last week for "specific pauses" in the fighting but added: "A permanent ceasefire would save lives and allow for a continued column of humanitarian aid [to] reach the people who need it the most.

"Access to water, electricity and fuel is vital for the Palestinian people. My constituents and I would be grateful for your comments on the actions our government is taking to ensure that people in Gaza do not face collective punishment for the crimes of Hamas."

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A Number 10 spokeswoman said: "Paul Bristow has been asked to leave his post in government following comments that were not consistent with the principles of collective responsibility."

Mr Bristow wrote that "some of my constituents have been directly affected" by the situation in the Middle East.

He added: "It is important that you hear this message. This is my job as a local member of parliament."

The action taken by the government contrasts with Labour's stance, which has seen leader Sir Keir Starmer call for "humanitarian pauses" - while other MPs, including shadow ministers, demand a ceasefire.

This lack of a singular message has not, as yet, led to any resignations or sackings from the opposition frontbench.

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Mr Bristow was first made a PPS in February last year when Nadine Dorries ran the then Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport.

He stayed with the department when Michelle Donelan took over under Liz Truss, and followed Ms Donelan to DSIT when the government was reorganised by Rishi Sunak earlier this year.