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The British-Palestinian MP hoping to lead UK party
A British-Palestinian MP and staunch opponent of Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan is running for the leadership of one of the UK’s main political parties.
Layla Moran – born to a British diplomat father and Palestinian mother from Jerusalem – is in a two-horse race to head the Liberal Democrats, the fourth largest party in the UK Parliament.
Ms Moran, 37, a former maths and physics teacher, was elected to the UK’s lower house for the first time only in 2017, when she became the first MP of Palestinian descent. Her great-grandfather, Wasif Jawhariyyeh, was a musician, poet and chronicler of life in Jerusalem under Ottoman and British rule before fleeing when the state of Israel was created.
He died before Ms Moran was born. “My Palestinian background has made me interested at a global level,” Ms Moran told
The New Arab in 2017. “Politics was always at the dinner table – it primed me to engage.
“De facto, I will be a representative of our community in parliament and it will be a great honour, which I take humbly.”
Ms Moran criticised the US president’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan, announced in January, describing it as a scam and an insult.
“The minister wonders why those of us with Palestinian family, but also anyone else who believes in the international rules-based order, are suggesting that our government should reject it,” she told the UK Parliament.
“The Palestinians were not consulted during its wide gestation. This is not the best of us. We should reject it outright.
“This plan is not the basis for a viable two-state solution. Does the minister therefore accept that these are baby steps, to use his words, towards an apartheid system that we should reject outright?”
The UK’s former Middle East minister Andrew Murrison said she needed to be “a little careful with her language”.
She has cited former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy as her inspiration in politics.
Mr Kennedy, who died in 2015, led the party to its greatest electoral success in 2005 after heading the political opposition to Britain’s involvement in the Iraq War.
The party’s fortunes have since slumped and it holds only 11 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons after a disastrous showing in last year’s general election.
Ms Moran received fewer nominations than her rival, veteran MP Ed Davey, with whom she will hold a series of debates.
The winner is expected to be announced on August 27.