Scottish Labour MPs should be whipped in Gaza ceasefire vote – SNP

The SNP is calling on Scottish Labour to whip its two MPs to vote for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, ahead of a vote in the House of Commons next week.

On Saturday, Scottish Labour’s conference is expected to pass a motion calling for an immediate ceasefire in the conflict.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has said both he and UK party leader Sir Keir Starmer want to see an immediate end to the violence.

During a previous Westminster vote on the issue in November, Labour lost 10 shadow ministers and parliamentary aides who rebelled against the leadership’s stance on Gaza.

The SNP will be bringing the issue back to the Commons next week, with a motion calling for an immediate ceasefire.

SNP foreign affairs spokesman Brendan O’Hara said: “The time for warm words is over.

“More than 28,000 Palestinian children, women and civilians have now been killed since Westminster failed to back a ceasefire in November.

“I urge Anas Sarwar to ensure Labour MPs don’t repeat the same devastating mistake they made when they opposed a ceasefire in November – he needs to show some leadership and whip them to vote in favour this time.

“By failing to join international pressure, Westminster is making an immediate ceasefire less likely and putting more lives at risk.

“Children in Gaza can’t afford for the UK to turn a blind eye once again.”

London Buildings stock
Another vote will take place in Westminster next week (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

He told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme they both want violence to stop “right now” – along with the delivery of humanitarian aid, the release of Israeli hostages held in Gaza, and a pathway to a two-state solution.

Mr Sarwar also said “open conversations” are happening with Labour’s two Scottish MPs, Ian Murray and Michael Shanks, ahead of the Westminster debate.

He said: “We shouldn’t be stuck on the semantics because this is a really important issue of life and death for people right now in Gaza and in Israel.

“The idea that this is about the semantics within one political party that’s in opposition…”

Pressed on why Sir Keir had not used the phrase “immediate ceasefire”, Mr Sarwar said: “Keir Starmer has said ‘the immediate end to fighting’, which means a sustainable ceasefire.

“I am perfectly relaxed and happy to say we need an immediate ceasefire and I have been saying so for weeks and weeks on end.”

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