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Two arrested after Labour candidate challenged about her voting record on Gaza

03 Jul 2024 4 minute read
Alex Davies-Jones, Labour MP for Pontypridd. Photo Roger Harris/UK Parliament

Martin Shipton

Pro-Palestine activists claim that two people have been arrested after a Labour candidate was challenged peacefully in the street about her voting record on calls for a ceasefire in Gaza.

A video posted to Instagram shows Alex Davies-Jones, who is campaigning for a second term as MP for Pontpridd, being asked why she abstained on a vote in the House of Commons for a ceasefire.

Ms Davies-Jones responded: “I didn’t abstain on a vote for a ceasefire”, although the video then shows that she did abstain on an SNP motion calling for a ceasefire in November 2023. In February 2024 she backed a Labour call for a “humanitarian” ceasefire.

‘Intimidation’

The police monitoring website Netpol posted a statement that said: “ Elections are supposedly the time to ask hard questions, but we’ve had a report of South Wales Police arresting a pro-Palestine campaigner after a complaint of ‘intimidation’ by Pontypridd Labour candidate Alex Davies Jones for posting a video challenging her silence on Gaza

“Bail conditions include ‘not to place anything on social media in relation to… (the) investigation’ – to stay silent in the week before polling about a candidate triggering a constituent’s arrest for challenging their voting record and membership of Labour Friends of Israel.

“Up and down the country, local people are asking hard questions of candidates about Palestine. In other areas this has been portrayed as ‘intimidating’, but as far as we know, this is the only arrest. It’s the only one where anyone is banned from even talking about their detention.”

In a video posted to Instagram, an activist from Pontypridd called Ayeshah says: “I was denied seizure medication and was told that if I kept asking for it I wouldn’t be released.”

Pro-Palestine activist

A well-known pro-Palestine activist called Neezo states in the video: “Yet again the government have shown how they are using laws to attack peaceful protesters, to remove our human rights and to stop us from speaking out. A few days ago [Ayeshah] was in her area in Pontypridd, where Alex Davies-Jones, the Labour MP for the area, was out on the streets canvassing. The Labour MP stumbled across Ayeshah and her friends and she came up to try and canvas and push her campaign. So Ayeshah started recording and asked her ‘why did you not vote for a ceasefire, why did you abstain from a ceasefire?’

Ms Davies-Jones responded: “I didn’t abstain on a vote for a ceasefire.”

Neezo said: “She’s not intimidated, she’s not threatened, she’s not harassed, she’s not scared, she’s speaking very normally.

“She [Alex Davies-Jones] has not turned up for any of the hustings, she’s not turned up to any workshops or clinics where she’s speaking to the community, she’s just been on paid trips to Israel.

“And because Ayeshah made a video, her and another person were arrested, their home was raided and [the police] took placards, signs, electronics, communications devices and they have put some ridiculous bail conditions on her. Now the government are actually resorting to banning people from using social media to speak about Palestine. This is one of the bail conditions.

“They are trampling down hard on anybody speaking out against the atrocities and the genocide in Palestine that is taking place against the Palestinian people. Why? Because the government is complicit.

“This is all a distraction to take us away from Palestine. We won’t be distracted. You can take as many people as you want – that’s not going to stop the movement. The movement is way bigger than individuals. If you think by silencing one, 10, 50, 100 people you’ve done anything, all you’ve done is woken a sleeping giant …The movement continues, the movement grows and freedom and liberation for all is the aim.”

Harassment

A South Wales Police spokesperson said: “Two women, aged 25 and 30, have been arrested on suspicion of harassment, public order offences and criminal damage in the Pontypridd area.

Both are currently on police bail while investigations continue.”

On Monday July 1 an election hustings meeting was called off in Pontypridd after a number of the candidates, including Ms Davies-Jones, said they were unable to turn up.

Ms Davies-Jones said she had been advised by the police to stay away because of threats and intimidation she had been subjected to.


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Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
10 days ago

And that, among many other reasons, is why you should never vote Labour. Why would they stand up for Palestine when they want to keep Wales a colony?

Truth Man
Truth Man
10 days ago

How anyone can read this and see the MP as the bad guy here is incredulous.

Owain Glyndŵr
Owain Glyndŵr
10 days ago
Reply to  Truth Man

Are you serious?! She got asked a question about her voting record and then complained to the police. Why? Simply because she doesn’t want to be held to account. Also she lied about abstaining on the SNP motion. Since when is it a crime to ask a candidate a question? Truth man!? More like Labour’s propaganda man 🙄 Or are you an Islamophobe? 😒

Truth Man
Truth Man
9 days ago
Reply to  Owain Glyndŵr

The MP in question has clearly stated in another publication that the video in question has cut off her answer.

The person’s have been arrested on suspicion of harassment and criminal damage.. Not “asking a question”

I am not an islamophobe nor a Labour spokesperson, I am a fan of detail and not falling for edited and ‘cut down’ videos

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
10 days ago

Whatever her stance on the war in Gaza, if she was “peacefully” asked to explain her voting record, then what is the problem?

Had she been aggressively accosted in the street, of course, any offender should be arrested and held to account.

However, she should also realise that being an MP is not “risk free”. If arrangements were made to ensure that the hustings were within a safer and more secure environment, then she should not automatically have turned them down.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
10 days ago

Those in the Labour party complicit will have the deaths of thousands of innocient Palestinian men women & children on their conscience, if they they have one that is. I watch cardboard Conservative Labour leader Keir Starmer smiling on TV knowing this is a man, a former human rights lawyer I might add , who stated live on BBC radio that he thought Israel had the right to stop food water & aid to 2.1 million civilians in Gaza was okay. No Mr Starmer. You being a lawyer know all to well that that is a war crime. And do… Read more »

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
10 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

And the 5th of July brings the new moon, and a new (hopefully) beginning…chin up Y C….

John Ellis
John Ellis
10 days ago

I have some sympathy for Ms Davies-Jones, in that she was elected on a Labour ticket, and in consequence she might feel pretty much compelled to follow the Labour party line. But as an elected parliamentarian, she surely has to accept accountability to voters who dissent from the decisions which she has taken. Unless there’s clear evidence that she was subjected to serious intimidation from the people who objected to the stance which she took, I think that she ought to accept that any hostility which she encountered as a consequence of her political position is simply par for the… Read more »

Adrian
Adrian
10 days ago

Of course, we have so few problems to deal with in Wales, and the UK, that there’s plenty of time to focus on what each and every SM and MP thinks about a conflict thousands of miles away. Jews and Muslims in that region have been at each other’s throats for centuries: they’re as bad as each other. Focus on domestic issues, we can’t solve the ills of the world.

Last edited 10 days ago by Adrian
Paul ap Gareth
Paul ap Gareth
10 days ago
Reply to  Adrian

Given that Britain caused this conflict by giving the Muslim’s land to the Jews, we cannot just turn a blind eye.

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
9 days ago
Reply to  Paul ap Gareth

What a flippant and ignorant comment. It’s not a matter of which group “owns” the land. There has always been a Jewish presence in Israel. Most Jewish people living there are of middle-eastern descent.

Karl
Karl
10 days ago

So my potential MP for the first time is a liar. Sheis gutless to avoid questions, part of the problem many have with politics. I don’t believe the brexit party that is Labour now. They still back Israel and lie about flirting with Welsh indy. She is a party stooge then.

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
10 days ago
Reply to  Karl

They don’t and never have flirted with Welsh indy. What is so concerning is that so many people still fall for this when UK Labour and “Welsh” Labour have ardent Unionists at their helm, to the detriment of the rest of us!

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
10 days ago

Clearly potential MPs should answer legitimate questions however the Pro Palestine protesters can be threatening. They are forever chanting ‘from the river to the sea’ in protests in Cardiff. Very threatening to Jewish people. They also terrified Zara staff in the St Davids Centre when they attacked and ransacked the store over some Zara poster or other. A friend was terrified and hiding in a cupboard.
Wrong on all sides it seems

Paul ap Gareth
Paul ap Gareth
10 days ago
Reply to  Linda Jones

What is your opinion of the Lakut Party’s (current Israeli governments) ‘from the river to the sea there shall be only Israeli sovereignty’ slogan?

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
10 days ago
Reply to  Paul ap Gareth

Any comment on the rampage through Zara Cardiff?

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
10 days ago
Reply to  Paul ap Gareth

Why do you believe that expressing concern for staff or bystanders in the street equates to support for the actions of the Israeli Prime Minister?

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
10 days ago
Reply to  Linda Jones

If you claim the protests are threatening to Jewish people,then please explain why many Jewish people have been taking part in pro Palestinian protests.

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
10 days ago
Reply to  Johnny Gamble

I am not saying all pro Palestine protesters are problematic, far from it. I am just saying there is a violent minority among the group so I get why the potential MP would be wary when approached by 2 strangers in this way.

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
10 days ago
Reply to  Linda Jones

Approaching MPs by strangers is nothing new,As long as it’s done in a peaceful manner.I have even approached my MP on the street.
If the MP in question had any concerns about walking in public then why on earth didn’t she have a security team with her.
According to the people who were arrested all they did was ask civil questions,it was nowhere near Nigel Farage having milkshake or wet cement thrown at him.

Owain Glyndŵr
Owain Glyndŵr
10 days ago
Reply to  Linda Jones

You need to read some Israeli political leaflets. Benjamin Netanyahu is constantly putting “Israel will extend from the river to the sea” on his campaign literature. Is it okay when he does it? Yes or no?

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
10 days ago
Reply to  Owain Glyndŵr

The issue of the war in Gaza/Israel is complex and heartbreaking. It deserves more consideration than a glib comment. Many Jewish people do find the chant threatening when used by pro Palestine groups. As did the staff in Zara Cardiff when the group went on the rampage through the store. Thus I do think the politician had reason to feel a bit wary when approached, she is a woman at the end of the day so approaches can make u feel vulnerable

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
10 days ago
Reply to  Linda Jones

I can’t comment on what happened in Zara as I wasn’t there.Yes I think public safety should be a priority,but what safety do Palestinian civilians have form the IDF ?

Swn Y Mor
Swn Y Mor
10 days ago

I think people need to realise that Labour like a good crackdown on dissent. Pro Palestine, so called Corbynistas, anti royalists and more will all be fair game for Labour. Just look at the James O Brien interview with Angela Rayner regarding the public order bill.

Last edited 10 days ago by Swn Y Mor
blc
blc
10 days ago

I don’t really know much about Davies-Jones, and I haven’t seen any footage of the confrontation in question. However it is very easy to fall into the trap of assuming bad faith in politicians, and when the politician in question is a woman it is very easy for the ”criticism” to slide right into misogyny. Unless you’ve been on the receiving end of it, those lines are very blurry from the outside. In the current febrile political climate, when MPs, councillors, candidates, etc are telling us they have received threats, or have received police guidance not to appear at public… Read more »

Last edited 10 days ago by blc
Karl
Karl
10 days ago
Reply to  blc

She lied, she abstained on the SNP vote. Stop using her gender as some sort of defence.

blc
blc
10 days ago
Reply to  Karl

I appreciate your insightful response. If I were to return the favour, then I would suggest that in future you respond to what was actually posted instead what you thought was posted. I offered no commentary on politics whatsoever. I did however comment on politically motivated intimidation, and threats, and violence, and murder. *No one* in public office, no matter how distasteful or disagreeable you find them, should be subject to that. Across the length and breadth of the UK, the political atmosphere is one of extreme polarisation and division. The lives of public servants and their families are threatened… Read more »

Truth Man
Truth Man
9 days ago
Reply to  blc

Thank you for this post. Until this post everyone else had loosely themed their posts as “Well if you’re happy to be an MP, you should expect the odd death threat every now and then”

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