UK Politics

Analysis: Warsi's resignation won't change Gaza policy

Baroness Warsi

Sayeeda Warsi has been a permanent feature at the top of the Conservative Party since David Cameron became leader almost a decade ago.

At the top, but not in the inner circle.

As the first Muslim woman to sit in the cabinet she was a crucial symbol of David Cameron's efforts to modernise the Tories.

But now she has left the government - and in a way designed to inflict damage.

The prime minister was only told shortly about her decision to quit before she announced it on her Twitter feed.

She'd also done an interview, explaining her decision, which was published on the Huffington Post website within the hour.

'Catastrophe'

David Cameron's response to her resignation contained a jibe - he had "much regret" she hadn't talked to him about her concerns before she quit.

But there was also a warm tribute.

"I would like you to know how much I have personally appreciated your support and friendship over the years' he wrote.

There is no evidence though that Mr Cameron is changing his mind or re-assessing the government's stance on Israel's conduct during this war.

The prime minister has faced criticism from some in his own party for not condemning Israel for what they believe is its disproportionate use of force against Hamas and civilians in Gaza.

He described an attack on Monday as a "slaughter" and he said the situation was "intolerable".

Other senior ministers have called it a "catastrophe".

But neither Mr Cameron nor any Conservative minister has said that Israel has gone beyond what is proportionate.

The response on Tuesday afternoon from the new foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, was telling.

What Lady Warsi has labelled a "morally indefensible" position he has dismissed as a call for "megaphone diplomacy". He emphasised that he felt he had to be "balanced".

That reveals how deep the divide was between two people who were supposed to be working together.

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