18 October 2023

Layla Moran says she has accepted Richard Madeley’s apology after Gaza question

18 October 2023

An MP who has extended family in Gaza said she has accepted broadcaster Richard Madeley’s apology after he asked whether there was “any word on the street” ahead of Hamas’s attack.

Layla Moran said she thought the question during Tuesday’s GMB programme came from a “place of… ignorance” but was not asked out of malice.

A spokesman for the ITV show said Madeley was “sorry that he upset viewers” with his line of questioning during the conversation with the Liberal Democrat MP.

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

I think it, frankly, came from a place of perhaps ignorance

Hamas, the group which rules the Gaza Strip, killed hundreds of Israelis on October 7 during an unprecedented assault.

The Palestinian militants also took almost 200 hostages during the incursion, with Israel commencing strikes and a siege in retaliation.

Ms Moran, asked about the GMB interview during an appearance on Sky News’ Politics Hub programme on Wednesday, said: “I think my face at the time looked pretty flummoxed.

“Look, the conversation as a whole over the 15-minute interview was an important one. We were looking at how we got here, where we go.

“I didn’t feel and don’t feel that it came from a place of malice. I think it frankly came from a place of perhaps ignorance.

“Perhaps it reminds us that in this conflict, which is complicated — this is not the slam dunk in a way that Russia-Ukraine was – this has a long history that needs to be understood and this has an important context in the wider region that needs to be understood.

“I have accepted his apology. The main thing is that I don’t want it to distract from these big issues.”

Ms Moran spoke in Parliament on Monday about her extended family, who are Christian Palestinians living in Gaza City, having their house bombed by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), staying in a church and being “too old” to flee the 25-mile strip.

During her interview with GMB, the Lib Dem foreign affairs spokeswoman spoke further about the conditions in Gaza under Israel’s siege, which has prevented food, water and other critical supplies from reaching Palestinians.

Later on in the discussion, Madeley asked Ms Moran: “With your family connections in Gaza, did you have any indication of what was going to happen 10 days ago, two weeks ago? Was there any word on the street?”

Ms Moran replied: “Not this, not this. I think everyone… everyone has been surprised by, first of all, partly the timing, the sophistication (and) the way that it’s happened.

“What I will say is that I have been warning, and others have in Parliament as well, for a number of years now that if we don’t find a way… The fact of the matter is there has not been a (negotiating) table, let alone to go back to a negotiating table, for at least 10 years now.

“This is a cycle of violence and every time there is a cycle of violence, my worry now is that this is radicalising another generation, on all sides.”

There was criticism of the remarks on social media afterwards with Peter Grant, the SNP MP for Glenrothes and Central Fife, saying: “Dear God. Richard Madeley trying to suggest that innocent Palestinians in Gaza and the UK knew about the planned massacre in Israel and did nothing about it.”

The PA news agency understands Ms Moran has suggested to GMB she would appear again on the programme.

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