Human Rights Minister Baroness Warsi this week resigned from the Government in protest at the way ministers have handled the ongoing crisis in Gaza.
Lady Warsi, who became the first Muslim woman to be appointed to cabinet, has grown increasingly unhappy that Britain is not taking a harder line against the Israeli bombardment of Palestinian territories. She described the policy as “morally indefensible”.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, she said that she was leaving her post “with regret”, but that she felt unable to continue.
Elaborating on her concerns in an interview with Channel 4 News, the Conservative peer said: “What he [George Osborne] should have been saying to the Israeli government is that it is unnecessary for you to kill innocent civilians, it is unnecessary for you to displace a quarter of the population, it is unnecessary for you to flatten schools, hospitals and power supplies and water supplies to achieve your ends.”
David Cameron said the current situation in the Middle East was “intolerable” but has resisted calls to change course.
Civil liberties charity Liberty said that it was saddened by Lady Warsi’s departure.
Paying tribute to the politician, Liberty’s director Shami Chakrabarti said: “She used her considerable skills and experience to tackle prejudice both at home and internationally. The former Conservative Party co-chair has been outspoken about human rights, tolerance and equality.”
Lady Warsi was made Minister of State for Faith and Communities two years ago, as well as holding the human rights brief within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
It has been announced that Baroness Anelay of St Johns will be her replacement.