Lord Cameron faces backlash after he hints at move to recognise Palestinian state

Lord David Cameron has faced a backlash from Conservative MPs after he suggested the UK was moving towards recognising a Palestinian state.

Speaking to the Conservative Middle East Council on Monday, the foreign secretary said the UK "should be starting to set out what a Palestinian state would look like - what it would comprise, how it would work".

He added: "As that happens, we, with allies, will look at the issue of recognising a Palestinian state, including at the United Nations. This could be one of the things that helps to make this process irreversible."

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Since the remarks were reported, a number of Tory MPs - including former ministers - criticised the proposal in the Commons.

Theresa Villiers said the move would "reward Hamas's atrocities", while Sir Michael Ellis said it risked giving "dangerous actors" the "trimmings and capabilities of a state".

Another ex-minister, Stephen Crabb, said, while the gesture was "noble", he wondered what "talk about early recognition" would achieve.

MP Greg Smith added: "Surely the only political objective in Gaza is inextricably linked to the security objectives in Gaza, because the grim reality is that Hamas does not seek a ceasefire and Israel cannot be reasonably expected to pursue one with a group that actively seeks its destruction."

Downing Street insisted the UK had not changed its approach, with the prime minister's official spokesperson saying: "We've always been clear that we will recognise a Palestinian state at a time it best serves the cause of peace and we are committed to the two-state solution."

The i newspaper has now reported Lord Cameron failed to clear his speech with Number 10 before making it.

Responding to the claim, a government source said it was a "long-standing" policy to seek a two-state solution, and Lord Cameron was just "setting that out".

They added the government acknowledged the attacks in Israel on 7 October had "set back progress".