What did Richard Madeley ask British-Palestinian MP Layla Moran? Controversial Gaza question explained

Richard Madeley is facing backlash over his comments on MP Layla Moran. (Images via Instagram/@richardmadeleyofficial & @laylamoran)
Richard Madeley is facing backlash over his comments on MP Layla Moran. (Images via Instagram/@richardmadeleyofficial & @laylamoran)

Richard Madeley, the English television presenter and writer, has landed himself in hot waters for an allegedly racist comment he made while speaking to Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict.

On October 17, 2023, during a broadcast of Good Morning Britain, Madeley asked the British-Palestinian MP:

"With your family connections in Gaza, did you have any indication of what was going to happen ten days ago, two weeks ago? Was there any word on the street?"

Moran was taken aback by Richard Madeley's question and netizens were outraged at the implication that she was aware in advance of the Hamas attack, which saw more than 1,400 people murdered, as per The Independent.

Disclaimer: The article concerns the Israel-Palestine conflict and has mentions of war and violence.

How Layla Moran responded to Richard Madeley's allegedly racist question

On October 17, 2023, Richard Madeley, who was the presenter for that day's edition of Good Morning Britain, made an allegedly racist remark while speaking to Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon.

The topic for discussion during the broadcast was the Hamas attack on Southern and central Israel that happened on October 7, 2023. According to The National, part of Layla's family is currently trapped in Gaza while Israel is preparing for a land invasion:

"My immediate family is in the West Bank – but we have extended family in Gaza city. Their house was bombed by the IDF, they went to seek sanctuary in a church because we are Christian Palestinians … They say to me they have nowhere to go."

In response to Richard Madeley asking her if she had any prior knowledge of the surprise attack by Hamas, Moran replied:

"Not this, not this. I think everyone, everyone has been surprised first of all by the timing and sophistication and the way that it's happened. I don’t believe it is right that my family is being held accountable for what Hamas is done. It is a choice to turn off the water and the electricity and the way that has happened – I don’t believe that is right.”

Layla Moran's father is a British diplomat, and her mother is a Christian Palestinian from Jerusalem.

Speaking about the absence of a "negotiating table" due to the conflict between Palestine and Israel, Moran added:

"People say ‘go back to the negotiating table’. The fact of the matter is there has not been a table, let alone to go back to a negotiating table for at least ten years."

Layla Moran concluded by saying:

"This is a cycle of violence. My worry now is that this is radicalizing another generation on all sides. We have to stop this hatred. We have to bring people together and find a way through... Peace is harder than war."

Richard Madeley apologizes

Madeley received a lot of backlash both online and in real life as GMB viewers called for the presenter to be "pulled off air" as they lodged complaints to Ofcom. As per The Independent, Madeley has since apologized in a statement released by Good Morning Britain, which read:

"Richard is sorry that he has upset viewers with his question to Layla Moran. His intention was to understand the mood and atmosphere amongst the civilian population of Gaza immediately before the attacks."

Addressing Layla Moran, the statement mentioned that Richard Madeley did not "mean to imply that she or her family might have had any prior knowledge of the attacks," adding that he only asked her the question "because she had discussed speaking to them earlier in the interview."

The Israel-Palestine conflict

On October 7, 2023, Hamas launched a surprise attack in Israel, launching thousands of rockets toward the country, striking even major cities like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, as per the New York Times.

In retaliation, the Israeli Government declared a "complete siege" over the Gaza Strip. Besides several airstrikes, the Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant ordered that there would be "no electricity, food, or fuel" allowed from outside Gaza.

As per Al Jazeera, a recent Israel airstrike on the Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza - packed with the wounded and other Palestinians seeking shelter - left at least 500 people dead.

The Wall Street Journal reported that since the conflict began on October 7, the death toll has hit 3000 in Gaza and 1400 in Israel.

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Edited by Upasya Bhowal
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