Foreign AffairsSpeeches

Theresa May – 2023 Speech on Israel and Gaza

The speech made by Theresa May, the former Prime Minister, in the House of Commons on 16 October 2023.

The attack on Israel by Hamas terrorists was barbaric. Terrorists must be defeated, whoever they are and wherever they are. I commend my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary for the stance that the Government have taken in support of the Jewish community here in the UK, and in support of Israel and its right to defend itself. I welcome the Prime Minister’s statement that action must be taken in line with international humanitarian law, but will he give a commitment today that the Government will leave no stone unturned in their efforts to prevent regional escalation of the conflict? In doing so, will he reflect on the role of Iran?

The Prime Minister

I can give my right hon. Friend that reassurance. It is not only something that we have discussed extensively with partners in the region, but why last week I deployed surveillance aircraft and assets to the Mediterranean, and they are already engaged in ensuring that arms shipments do not find their way to people such as those in Hezbollah, and that Iran does not see this as an opportunity to escalate the conflict. The support that we have put into the region has already been welcomed by our partners, who share our aim to ensure that action is constrained to dealing with Hamas and what they have done. No one wants to see any escalation. Again, that is something that Prime Minister Netanyahu and I discussed, and he very much agrees that his objective is to deal with Hamas and not to see the conflict spread more widely.