Baroness Warsi questions government over Palestinian statehood

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Baroness Warsi has used her first speech in the House of Lords since resigning from the cabinet over the UK's position on Gaza to question the government over its position on the state of Palestine.

Lady Warsi resigned from her post as Foreign Office minister in August, saying the government's policy on the crisis in Gaza is "morally indefensible".

Speaking from the Conservative benches she asked ask what "specific conditions or criteria would need to be met for the government to recognise the state of Palestine" during the oral questions session on 15 October 2014.

She then called for ministers to respond to MPs voting overwhelmingly in favour of a recognising Palestine as a state.

The House of Commons voted by 274 to 12 on 13 October in favour of urging the government to "recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel".

Responding for the government, Foreign Office Minister Baroness Anelay of St John told peers the government would need to "judge when it is right" to take a decision on recognising the state of Palestine.

Baroness Anelay, who replaced Baroness Warsi at the Foreign Office, told the House that the focus should be on finding "a negotiated end to the occupation" of Palestinian land by Israeli forces.

Current UK government policy is that it "reserves the right to recognise a Palestinian state bilaterally at the moment of our choosing and when it can best help bring about peace".

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