British-Palestinian MP Speaks Out About Richard Madeley's Decision To Ask Her About Hamas

Layla Moran said she wondered if the query came from "a place of ignorance".
Layla Moran and Richard Madeley
Layla Moran and Richard Madeley
Sky News/Getty

The UK’s first British-Palestinian MP has spoken out about a controversial question Richard Madeley asked her during a live interview earlier this week.

Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, Layla Moran, told ITV’s Good Morning Britain about the struggles her Palestinian relatives were facing in the besieged Gaza Strip right now on Tuesday.

Madeley then asked if she or her family were aware that the Hamas attack was going ahead before it happened.

After Moran repeatedly told GMB her family were just ordinary Palestinian civilians, and shouldn’t be held accountable for the actions of Hamas, Madeley asked: “With your family connections in Gaza, did you have any indication of what was going to happen ten days ago? Two weeks ago?

“Any word on the street?”

Moran, looking slightly taken aback, said: “Not this. Everyone – everyone – has been surprised, partly the timing and sophistication, the way that it’s happened.”

Madeley’s question prompted significant backlash on social media soon after the interview aired.

Recalling the incident on Sky News on Wednesday night, Moran said: “I think my face at the time looked pretty flummoxed.”

However, she added that she didn’t feel “it came from a place of malice” but from “a place of perhaps ignorance, perhaps”.

She continued: ”It reminds us that this conflict – which is complicated, this is not the slam dunk that Russia-Ukraine was – this has a long history which needs to be understood, and this has an important context in the wider region which needs to be understood.

″When we are talking these things, we need to be very mindful and thoughtful.”

After the controversial interview on Tuesday, a GMB spokesperson said: “Richard is sorry that he has upset viewers with his question to Layla Moran.

“His intention was to understand the mood and atmosphere amongst the civilian population of Gaza immediately before the attacks.

“He asked Layla about her family in Gaza City because she had discussed speaking to them earlier in the interview.

“He did not mean to imply that she or her family might have had any prior knowledge of the attacks.”

Back on Sky News, Moran said she “accepts” Madeley’s apology, and doesn’t want it to “distract from these big issues” of resolving the crisis.

Sky’s Sophy Ridge asked: “Do you think [Madeley’s comment] perhaps plays into what some people may feel about people in Gaza, about Palestinians?”

″I choose to believe not,” Moran said. “That wasn’t what it was doing.”

She said Palestinians are “intelligent, creative” people who just want to live without fear and with peace – and she “would rather” any preconceptions about those in Gaza “weren’t part of the conversation”.

More than 1,400 people in Israel and more than 2,800 people in Gaza have been killed in the last week and a half of the Israel-Hamas war. These numbers predate the hospital explosion, which is feared to have killed hundreds more.

Hamas militants have reportedly taken around 200 hostages, too, and more people are thought to be trapped beneath the rubble in the war zone.


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