100 MPs sign Motion calling for immediate and safe release of BBC journalist Alan Johnston


The number of MPs who signed Early Day Motion 1181 calling for the immediate and unconditional safe relaese of Alan Johnston, the BBC journalist kidnapped in Gaza over a month ago, has now reached 100.

The motion states “That this House expresses its deep concern at the disappearance of the BBC correspondent in Gaza, Alan Johnston; applauds the tenacity and professionalism of Mr Johnston’s regular reports from Gaza over the past three years highlighting both political developments in the area and the humanitarian crisis facing the Palestinian people; believes that the abduction is illegal and unacceptable and that it undermines the efforts of all those working for justice for the Palestinians both in the Middle East and internationally; welcomes the expressions of support for Mr Johnston by Palestinian journalists and the efforts of the Palestinian Authority, Palestinian political parties and non-governmental organisations, and all those in the international community who are working for his release; and calls for Mr Johnston’s immediate and unconditional safe return to his colleagues, friends and family.”

The motion was tabled following a meeting between the BBC and members of the Britain-Palestine All Party Parliamentary Group last month to offer support to the BBC’s efforts to secure his release.

Richard Burden MP, Chair of the Britain-Palestine All Party Group has also raised Alan Johnston’s abduction at a recent meeting of the United Nations. He said today:

“Alan is someone who lived in Gaza and stayed there when many left. He was there when Israeli jets destroyed the power station on which most people in Gaza relied for their electricity. He kept Gaza’s appalling humanitarian crisis in the public eye in the UK and he told it like it is – professionally and graphically. His spoke without bias but that made him a true friend of Palestine because anybody who has visited Gaza knows his pictures and reports speak for themselves.

“Those who are responsible for Alan’s abduction must realise their actions undermine the efforts of all of us who work in the international sphere for justice for the Palestinians. The extent of support for the Early Day Motion shows that Members of Parliament are united in calling for Alan’s unconditional release.”

The EDM gained its 100th signature on the same day that the National Union of Journalists, Backed by the International Federation of Journalists, held a vigil for Alan Johnston in London and journalists in Israel and Gaza also held demonstrations calling for Mr Johnston’s release.

An additional motion, EDM 1194 has also gathered over 50 signatures. Many MPs have also supported the BBC’s own petition which now has over 52,000 signatures

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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You can reach me by email at richard@richardburden.com or use the form on the Contact page to send me a message.