Hackney MP Meg Hillier faces calls to resign after abstaining on vote for immediate ceasefire in Gaza

Hackney South and Shoreditch MP Meg Hillier. Photograph: UK Parliament

Local MP Meg Hillier has been urged to resign by pro-Palestine campaigners after she abstained on a vote calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The Labour representative of Hackney South backed the party leadership in not supporting an SNP amendment to the King’s Speech that called on “all parties to agree to an immediate ceasefire”.

Fifty-six Labour MPs voted in favour of the amendment – a major rebellion for party leader Sir Keir Starmer, who has come under pressure for his unwillingness to back an all-out ceasefire.

Protesters, organised by Hackney Stop the War and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), took to the streets and to the steps of Hackney Town Hall last Saturday to demand an end to hostilities.

They also chanted ‘Meg Hillier, resign’.

In response to the protests, Hillier said: “In Hackney, we must not allow these tragic events to divide our communities. The situation in Israel and Gaza is truly horrific.

“The long-term solution will only be delivered through a political agreement and a two-state solution. We need strong political leadership and diplomacy.”

She emphasised that “innocent civilians” are the “victims” of the war, adding: “Labour’s amendment to the King’s Speech called for an end to the violence.”

A Hackney Stop the War representative said the protests included “the participation of the local Trade Council, the National Education Union, and Day Mer”.

“The main objective of the protest was to demand an immediate ceasefire,” they added.

Vigils were also held on the same day – organised independently by locals.

A representative from Hackney PSC said: “We try and work together on these protests, but at things are moving rapidly right now we do not always manage to do so.”

Diane Abbott, independent MP for Hackney North, voted in favour of an immediate ceasefire.

Some constituents signed a thank you card for her in response, according to Hackney Stop the War.

Another national protest will take place tomorrow, and a march is also planned in Hackney.

A major rally is set to take place on Tuesday evening outside the Town Hall, in protest at Hackney Council pension fund’s investments in companies that deal with Israel.

Demonstrators will call “for the divestment of pension funds from companies complicit in the illegal occupation of Palestine”, said PSC.