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Alan Beith explains why he doesn't want to recognise Palestine

On 13 October the House of Commons voted 274 to 12 to "recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel" The Government is not obliged to act on the resolution and seems very unlikely to do so unless a great deal more pressure is brought upon it.

Although only a handful of MPs voted against the resolution,  many MPs - including Tory, Lib Dem and Labour front-benchers - chose not to vote. All SNP MPs, 75.6% of Labour MPs, 52.6% of Lib Dem MPs and 15.2% of Tory MPs backed the resolution (breakdown of the vote).

Lib Dem MP Alan Beith (Berwick on Tweed), in a letter to a constituent dated 21 October 2014, provided the following rather convoluted explanation of his decision not to back the recognition of Palestinian statehood.

"Thank you for getting in touch with me about the House of Commons vote on Palestinian statehood

I agree with you that there should be a Palestinian state. It should be in control of its own territory, secure and at peace with its neighbours. At the moment it is none of these things, and the reason I did not support the motion is that it will not become so until there have been further negotiations to achieve a two state solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict. This is not, as some have suggested, a veto for Israel: the UK, not Israel, will decide when this country's recognition of Palestinian statehood will be appropriate and helpful to the achievement of a settlement. Sadly, there is no evidence that recognition at this stage, or the House of Commons vote in favour of recognition, will make either the Palestinians or Israel more willing to negotiate. That was what many supporters had hoped, but, as several recognised in the debate, it is not really likely to have that effect. Much more work will now have to be done to stimulate negotiation, build up infrastructure and democratic structures in Palestine, end the extension of settlements and unilateral annexing of territory, and maintain the ceasefire by both sides.

Thank you for letting me have your view."