Alan Duncan being investigated by Conservative Party after criticising fellow Tories for Israel support

4 April 2024, 13:35 | Updated: 4 April 2024, 19:17

Alan Duncan
Alan Duncan. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Sir Alan Duncan is under investigation by the Conservative Party after criticising his Tory colleagues for their support of Israel.

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Sir Alan, a former government minister, called for his fellow Conservatives Lord Polak, Lord Pickles and Tom Tugendhat to face repercussions over their support of Israel on LBC on Thursday.

A Conservative Party spokesperson said: "Following his comments on LBC this morning, Alan Duncan has been informed in writing that he is under investigation by the party."

Investigations of this kind can take a few weeks, and can result in a member being expelled from the party.

Speaking on LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, Sir Alan also called for arms sales to Israel to be stopped "immediately".

Read more: UK risks breaching international law by continuing to arm Israel, Rishi Sunak warned

Read more: Israel admits ‘grave mistake’ after three British ex-forces heroes among seven killed in mistaken rocket on aid convoy

Sir Alan Duncan challenges support for Israel

"I think that anything in support of what is becoming a total catastrophe in Gaza is morally unacceptable and what we have to accept is it’s not just what they’re doing now is wrong – it’s what Israel has been doing for years has been wrong because the Israeli defence does not follow international law," he said.

"It has been backing and supporting illegal settlers in the West Bank who steal Palestinian land and it is that land theft, that annexation of Palestine, which is the origin of the problem, which has given rise to the Hamas atrocity and the battles we’re seeing."

Responding to the probe, Sir Alan said: "Although I have heard nothing myself, I have been told by many in the media that the Conservative Party has issued a statement to say that I am to be investigated by them with a view to expulsion. "They did not lay out any substantive grounds for their action.

"If this is indeed their intention, I will probably be the only person ever to be reproached for upholding his party's policy and for defending the principles of international law and justice in the face of others who would undermine them.

"Should they choose to pursue this, they should not be surprised if it rebounds on them massively and proves dangerously harmful to their own reputation."

Andrew Percy, the vice-chair of the Conservative Friends of Israel, said: "Alan Duncan is a ridiculous character and accusing a Jewish parliamentarian of working for Israel at a time of record levels of antisemitism not only puts that individual in danger but also risks fuelling Jew hate here in the UK. It is a reckless, ignorant and dangerous comment.

Sir Alan Duncan on arms sales to Israel

"Unlike Alan Duncan, Lord Pickles is a serious and respected figure who has spent years working to preserve the memory of the horrors of the Holocaust here in the UK and around the world.

"Supporting Israel in its fight against Hamas which Alan Duncan would do well to remember raped, butchered and murdered innocent civilians in their own homes, isn't doing anyone's bidding, it is standing up to an Islamist terrorist rape and death cult that not only wants to kill all Jews, but also wants to destroy everything we stand for in the democratic liberal West."

It comes after the killing of seven aid workers, including three British nationals, in an Israeli drone strike on Monday night.

Rishi Sunak has defended the sales, saying the UK has a "careful export licensing regime".

He said he has "been consistently clear" with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel must protect civilian lives.

Alan Duncan
Alan Duncan. Picture: Alamy

Sir Alan went on to say: "There are a lot of people at the top of our own politics who refuse to condemn settlements and therefore are not supporters of national law.

"I think the time has come to flush out those extremists in our own parliamentary politics and around it...

"The Conservative friends of Israel has been doing the bidding of Netanyahu, bypassing all proper processes of government to exercise undue influence at the top of government.

"So what you have is a lot of people now sitting around Rishi Sunak who are giving him appalling advice. Let’s start with the head of CFI – or had been for many years – Lord Polak.

"In my view, I think he should be removed from the Lords because he is exercising the interests of another country, not that of the parliament in which he sits, joined by Lord Pickles. They’re the sort of Laurel and Hardy who should be pushed out together."

Sir Alan also addressed Suella Braverman who he said "is still supporting Israel and the bombing and the annihilation of people in Gaza".

"She does not believe that settlements are wrong nor, I suspect, do Michael Gove and Oliver Dowden," he said.

"And Priti Patel, by the way, should be reinvestigated for her visit.

"We still don’t know who paid for her trip when she came back and tried to change government policy as a result of going on a secret trip without actually telling her officials or even the local ambassador.

"And if you pick up Wikipedia, and you read the entry for Tom Tugendhat, who is our security minister, it says and I’ll read it out: ‘He condemned the United Nations Security Council for its official criticism of Israel’s building settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.’

"That may have been some years ago but he’s never removed that, he’s never changed his view. How can you have a security minister in the British government who does not believe in international law when all this is going on?

"I think he should be sacked."