BOURNEMOUTH EAST MP Tobias Ellwood is to visit the troubled Middle East soon in his role as a new foreign office minister.
Mr Ellwood was appointed by David Cameron in the recent reshuffle and has the Middle East as one of his ministerial responsibilities.
Speaking after Tuesday’s resignation of Baroness Warsi over the Israel-Gaza crisis, the MP told the Daily Echo that he “shared her concern over some of the things we have been seeing on our television screens.”
He is also worried by the scale of the conflict, he said.
“I don’t accept her criticisms of the government but I have raised concerns about some of the things that have happened, especially the boys who were killed on the beach.
“I note there is to be a full United Nations investigation.”
Mr Ellwood, a former British Army officer said he would be going to the region shortly to see the situation on the ground himself, though he could not confirm if the visit would include Israel and Gaza.
“I know all MPs have had lots of correspondence about the situation and I have personally passed all mine to the Israeli authorities and sought assurances.”
He said a permanent solution had to be achieved. “We can’t keep returning to this level of violence every couple of years.”
Solid progress need to be made because Gaza would be unliveable by 2018 and Israeli citizens needed to be free from rocket attacks – around 147 a day.
In her letter to the prime minister, Lady Warsi said: “My view has been that our policy in relation to the Middle East Peace Process generally but more recently our approach and language during the current crisis in Gaza is morally indefensible, is not in Britain’s national interest and will have a long-term detrimental impact on our reputation internationally and domestically.”
Her decision to resign followed criticism from several Conservative MPs that Israel’s response to rocket attacks by Hamas militants had been “disproportionate.”
Lady Warsi said there was “unease” among Tory backbenchers and “concern” at ministerial level and leading Liberal Democrats have today called for the suspension of arms export licences to Israel.
As a result of the resignation, Mr Ellwood has also been given FO responsibility for North Africa.