Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Leyton & Wanstead candidates' views on Palestine


This is a summary report of the position on Palestine of the General Election candidates’ from the Leyton and Wanstead parliamentary constituency of the London Borough of Waltham Forest.

 It was produced by the Waltham Forest Palestine Solidarity Campaign (WFPSC), which is a non-political organisation and does NOT endorse or support any of the candidates.

The summary is designed to provide information for voters who wish to know what the candidates’ positions are on Palestinian human rights before deciding where to cast their vote.

Leyton and Wanstead Constituency

Two hustings for the Leyton and Wanstead Constituency were attended by members of Waltham Forest Palestine Solidarity Campaign (WFPSC):
1.      Wanstead Library on 25th April.
2.      St John’s Church on 29th April.

Below is a summary of the candidate’s positions on questions raised on Palestine from the audience.
Responses by candidates to the PSC questionnaire can be seen at (Conservative, Labour and Green candidates have responded).

John Cryer (Labour Party)

Mr Cryer stated that he is in favour of a two-state solution and against boycott and sanctions against Israel, though he would support a ban on selling arms to Israel. He believes that through a ban on selling arms, it would send a clear message to the USA, who in turn could bring pressure to bear upon Israel to come to the negotiating table.
When asked after the second hustings if he believed that Israel were guilty of breaches under the Geneva Convention, he responded that he did not know.
Mr Cryer stated that previous Israeli governments had been progressive and cited the example of the ‘exceptional’ Ben-Gurion (First Prime Minister of Israel, during the period of ‘The Nakba’). Mr Cryer also made an additional point that criticism of Israel can often be anti-Semitic and he opposes such criticisms.

Matthew Scott (Conservative Party)

Mr Scott attended the Wanstead Library hustings, but was unable to attend the hustings at St John’s Church. He stated that he supports a two-state solution, but opposes any boycott or sanctions. Mr Scott stated that it was a difficult issue and we needed to work with our allies to bring all sides together.

Carl Quilliam (Liberal Democrats)

Mr Quilliam stated that he supports a two-state solution, but opposes any boycott or sanctions. However, in conversation after the first hustings, Mr Quilliam seemed open to the idea of a ban of goods made in illegal settlements but felt a more general boycott would be complicated.
When questioned on the arms trade with Israel, Mr Quilliam stated that Israel was currently on a government watch list when considering whether to allow the sale of arms. He stated that he would adopt a policy that with any such country on the watch list, there should be a presumption that we should not allow the sale of arms.

Rosamund Beattie (United Kingdom Independence Party)

Ms Beattie stated that she supported a two-state solution, but opposed boycott or sanctions. She agreed with the Conservative candidate that we should work with our allies to bring all sides together.

Ashley Gunstock (Green Party)

Mr Gunstock stated that in line with the national Green Party, he is in favour of boycott and sanctions to force Israel to make concessions. He believes that the wall in the West Bank should be taken down and he opposes any arms sales to Israel.

Mahtab Aziz (Independent)

Mr Aziz was not present at either of the hustings, though I am unsure whether he was invited or whether he is still standing.

If you are interested in getting involved with Waltham Forest PSC, please contact us on

Facebook:  Waltham Forest Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Twitter: @WFPSCLondon

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