Man who organised Armistice Day pro-Palestine march was Labour aide

Man who organised Armistice Day pro-Palestine march was working for Keir Starmer at the time – but mysteriously ‘left his job this week’

  • Ex-Labour aide Ben Soffa is the director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign 

A senior former Labour aide has organised the pro-Palestine march on Armistice Day despite Keir Starmer’s ban on MPs attending rallies, it has been claimed.

The PSC, who have organised marches through London for the last four weekends, has pledged to avoid the Whitehall area where the Cenotaph is located amid fears the war memorial will be targeted by activists.

Labour MPs have been warned by Sir Keir that they ‘should not under any circumstances attend any of these events’.

However, The Sun reports that Mr Soffa was also the Labour Party’s £61,000-a-year Head of Digital Organising. 

Labour sources told the newspaper that Mr Soffa had left the party in recent days. ‘We’re grateful to Ben for all his work for the party and wish him all the best for the future,’ the source said.

Ben Soffa (pictured wearing a poppy), the Secretary of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), was working for Sir Keir until mysteriously leaving his job this week, it has been claimed

Labour MPs have been warned by Sir Keir (pictured) that they ‘should not under any circumstances attend any of these events’

This is despite his social media accounts still claiming that he is an active employee at the Labour Party.

Government records show that Mr Soffa is also the active director of PSC and Organic Campaigns while he used to be the director at Calling for Action but resigned in March 2020.

The PSC, which Mr Soffa has been director of since 2013, has been organising marches up and down the country against Israel’s retaliation to the barbaric attacks launched by Hamas terrorists on October 7.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has described the protests as ‘hate marches’ following a number of arrests and antisemitic chanting.

The Met Police said last night that they have made 188 arrests ‘involving hate crimes or linked to protests in London’ since the October 7 atrocities.

On that day, Hamas terrorists crossed the Israel border and slaughtered 1,400 Jews. The Manchester PSC branch described it as a ‘heroic move’ by ‘freedom fighters’ that ‘gave us all a glimpse of a liberated Palestine.’

The National PSC later distanced itself from the comments, branding the support for Hamas as ‘unacceptable’.

The latest controversy in Labour comes after a frontbencher quit over Sir Keir’s refusal to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, where more than 10,000 Palestinians have been killed.

The PSC, which Mr Soffa has been director of since 2013, has been organising marches up and down the country against Israel’s retaliation to the barbaric attacks launched by Hamas terrorists on October 7. Pictured: Activists descend on Trafalgar Square on November 4

Imran Hussain, MP for Bradford East, said he was quitting his role as shadow minister for the New Deal for Working People to be able to ‘strongly advocate’ for a ceasefire.

The Labour leader has been grappling to maintain discipline in his top team over the Gaza conflict.

At least 16 shadow ministers have either called for a ceasefire or shared others’ calls on social media while around 30 councillors have resigned.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators are expected to join a march on Armistice Day, raising fears it could disrupt commemorations marking the end of World War One. 

Rishi Sunak has accepted that the ‘disrespectful’ demonstration will go ahead.

He said the Metropolitan Police Commissioner committed to keep the force’s ‘posture under constant review’ before the pro-Palestinian protest planned on Armistice Day, despite previously promising to hold him ‘accountable’ for allowing it to go ahead. 

But Ms Braverman has butted heads with the Met and further stoked division in the cabinet office, accusing the force of ‘playing favourites’ with protesters.

Despite promising to hold the Metropolitan Police Commissioner ‘accountable’ for allowing the demonstration to go ahead, Rishi Sunak said that the protesters had the right to peacefully protest.

In a statement following his talks with Sir Mark Rowley over the planned event, the Prime Minister said: ‘This weekend people around the UK will come together in quiet reflection to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country. It is not hyperbole to say that we are the beneficiaries of an inheritance born of their sacrifice.

‘It is because that sacrifice is so immense, that Saturday’s planned protest is not just disrespectful but offends our heartfelt gratitude to the memory of those who gave so much so that we may live in freedom and peace today.

‘But part of that freedom is the right to peacefully protest. And the test of that freedom is whether our commitment to it can survive the discomfort and frustration of those who seek to use it, even if we disagree with them. We will meet that test and remain true to our principles.

‘This afternoon I asked the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, to come to Downing Street and provide reassurances that the police are taking every step necessary to safeguard Remembrance services, provide reassurance to those who wish to pay their respects across the country and keep the public safe from disorder this weekend.

Scotland Yard last night gave the green light to a pro-Palestine rally on Armistice Day. Pictured: Activists rally in Trafalgar Square last weekend

There are fears that the Cenotaph (pictured) could be targeted on Armistice Day

Rishi Sunak (right) vowed to hold Met chief Mark Rowley (left) ‘accountable’ for ensuring the protests at the weekend do not disrupt Armistice Day 

‘It’s welcome that the police have confirmed that the march will be away from the Cenotaph and they will ensure that the timings do not conflict with any Remembrance events.

‘There remains the risk of those who seek to divide society using this weekend as a platform to do so. That is what I discussed with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner in our meeting.

‘The Commissioner has committed to keep the Met Police’s posture under constant review based on the latest intelligence about the nature of the protests.

‘And finally, to our veterans and their families, I assure you that we will do everything it takes to protect this special weekend for you and our country, as we come together to reflect on those who protected our freedom.’

Suella Braverman, in a comment piece published tonight in the Times, said: ‘It is the pro-Palestinian movement that has mobilised tens of thousands of angry demonstrators and marched them through London every weekend.

‘From the start, these events have been problematic, not just because of violence around the fringes but because of the highly offensive content of chants, posters and stickers.

‘Right-wing and nationalist protesters who engage in aggression are rightly met with a stern response yet pro-Palestinian mobs displaying almost identical behaviour are largely ignored, even when clearly breaking the law?’

Mr Sunak’s statement came after the Yard claimed it had ‘no absolute power’ to ban the protest on Saturday. 

Ben Soffa and the Labour Party have been approached for comment.

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