Tories vow to ban local authorities from holding ‘divisive’ Israel boycotts
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Tories vow to ban local authorities from holding ‘divisive’ Israel boycotts

The policy was unveiled in the party's general election manifesto released at a launch in Telford on Sunday

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Photo credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Photo credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire)

The Conservatives have vowed to stop local authorities from holding “divisive” and “damaging” boycotts including against Israel.

The policy was unveiled in the party’s general election manifesto released at a launch in Telford on Sunday.

It pledges to legislate to tackle “direct or indirect boycotts, disinvestment or sanctions campaigns against foreign countries,” claiming “these undermine community cohesion.”

It would ban public bodies from imposing any sanctions and boycotts against foreign countries, including on goods and services, not already endorsed by the government.

“Town hall boycotts undermine good community relations, weakening integration and fuelling antisemitism,” said communities secretary Robert Jenrick.

“Local public bodies should focus on their day jobs – such as running libraries and collecting bins, rather than running a divisive foreign policy from town halls,” he added.

Oliver Dowden, minister for the Cabinet Office, argued: “Rather than promoting coexistence, debate and dialogue, these left-wing boycotts sow hatred and alienation. Conservatives will prevent British taxpayers’ money from bankrolling division and stop these damaging boycotts once and for all.”

Last week, Labour committed to suspending British arms sales to Israel it says are used against Palestinian civilians.

The party said it would “conduct a root-and-branch reform of our arms exports regime so ministers can never again turn a blind eye to British-made weapons being used to target innocent civilians.”

The Liberal Democrats’ manifesto, published last week, vowed to formally recognise the state of Palestine and reaffirmed support for a two-state solution.

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