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UK ministers consider ban on MPs engaging with pro-Palestine and climate protesters

UK government officials are considering a proposal to prohibit Members of Parliament and local councillors from engaging with certain activist groups, including those advocating for Palestinian rights and environmental action.
The policy, shaped by political violence advisor Lord Walney (formerly John Woodcock), advocates for a strict stance against organizations like the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Extinction Rebellion, and Just Stop Oil, particularly those employing disruptive protest methods or failing to prevent offensive behavior at demonstrations.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary James Cleverly are poised to examine these suggestions, which could compel Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to evaluate his party's engagement with pro-Palestine protests.

Some Labour MPs, such as John McDonnell and Apsana Begum, have participated in Palestine Solidarity Campaign events. Labour has resisted calls for the suspension of these MPs, arguing that the group is not officially banned.

The ruling Conservative Party has previously held discussions with Extinction Rebellion. Michael Gove, responsible for defining extremism within his government role, recognized Extinction Rebellion's climate concerns during his tenure as Environment Secretary.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party is facing internal calls to address the Palestinian issue more assertively following a byelection won by George Galloway, linking the result to Muslim discontent over Labour's stance on Israel.

Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson highlighted the necessity of politicians being mindful of their affiliations but emphasized the importance of the right to protest in a democracy.

The Home Office is reviewing the report's recommendations before formally responding.

In a separate development, a More in Common poll conducted by the Together Coalition revealed that a minority of Britons harbor anti-Muslim views, with 21% expressing negativity toward Muslims, the highest negative sentiment among ethnic groups, save for Travellers.

The study also showed a portion of public unease with British Muslims marrying into families and presumed divided loyalties between Britain and Muslim countries. However, Brendan Cox of the Together Coalition notes that most British citizens do not hold major prejudices against various identity groups.
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