Downing Street’s annual Eid reception saw reduced attendance on Monday amid reports of a boycott in protest against the Government’s support of Israel.

Only around half the normal number of people attended the gathering at Number 10, the BBC reported, while a number of prominent politicians and business and charity leaders stayed away.

Baroness Warsi, who was Britain’s first female Muslim cabinet minister and served as chair of the Conservative Party under David Cameron, was reportedly among those who avoided the event.

Members of the Muslim community queue as they wait to have their picture taken in front of 10 Downing Street’s door, as they arrive for an Eid reception in Downing StreetMembers of the Muslim community wait to have their picture taken in front of 10 Downing Street’s door as they arrive for an Eid reception (Aaron Chown/PA)

The Conservative peer has been outspoken in her criticism over the plight of people in Gaza.

Earlier in the day, Lord Cameron, the Foreign Secretary, had urged invitees to attend, saying religious festivals were “a time to put aside political differences and think of the things that bring us together”.

Monday’s event had been due to be hosted by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, but he was unable to attend as it clashed with his statement in the Commons on the situation in the Middle East.

A Number 10 spokesperson had previously said the Prime Minister was looking forward to “welcoming members of the Muslim community to the Eid reception” but added the Government shared “the deep concern that many British Muslims feel over the humanitarian crisis in Gaza”.

The spokesperson said: “That’s why we have long called for an immediate humanitarian pause with progress towards a sustainable ceasefire and consistently urged Israel and all parties to the conflict to abide by international humanitarian law.”

Speaking in the Commons on Monday afternoon, Mr Sunak reiterated that position as he condemned Saturday night’s attack by Iran on Israel.

He told MPs: “I want to be clear, nothing that has happened over the last 48 hours affects our position on Gaza.

“The appalling toll on civilians continues to grow, the hunger, the desperation, the loss of life on an awful scale, the whole country wants to see an end to the bloodshed and to see more humanitarian support going in.”