SNP Westminster leader ‘disappointed’ Labour not in touch ahead of Gaza motion

SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn has said it is “deeply disappointing” he has not heard from Labour ahead of his party’s motion calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The SNP-led vote calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and Israel will take place in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

Mr Flynn said that there had been no contact between Labour and SNP whips despite Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar telling the BBC on Sunday that there had been.

Scottish Labour delegates backed calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza at the party conference at the weekend, while UK Labour party leader Sir Keir Starmer called for a “ceasefire that lasts” in Gaza when he addressed the conference on Sunday.

Stephen Flynn
SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn said an immediate ceasefire is needed (Steve Welsh/PA)

He told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “Anas Sarwar said to your colleagues on BBC Scotland on Sunday that there had been discussions between the Labour whips and the SNP whips, that is categorically not the case.

“I have had no communication nor has my chief whip with the Labour party, it’s deeply disappointing, and I’m not entirely sure why Anas Sarwar sought to espouse that mistruth, perhaps he was spun a line by Keir Starmer to try and calm him down a little bit, because of course Anas is in support of my position in relation to an immediate ceasefire as I believe most of Scottish Labour are.

“Ultimately the key thing for me is making sure that we can protect civilian lives and that is what are going to seek to do in the House of Commons tomorrow night.”

A similar vote tabled by the SNP in November saw eight shadow ministers break ranks to back an immediate ceasefire, with some 56 Labour members defying a three-line whip and backing an amendment to the King’s Speech.

Mr Flynn was also asked his view about a a US-sponsored draft resolution at the UN calling for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza.

He told the BBC: “The problem is that ceasefire is included but the word before it is also important and the word we need to hear before it is immediate because we cannot continue to see civilians being killed, some 30,000 people have been killed since the outbreak of this conflict, 70,000 injured, there’s about 1.4 million people sheltering in Rafah which is normally home to about 170,000 people, those people are under constant bombardment from the Israeli defence force who have stated that they intend to launch a ground offensive on that area in the not too distant future.

“The death toll could rise exponentially. Enough is enough. We need an immediate ceasefire and that’s what the SNP will continue to champion.”

The Labour Party has been asked for comment.

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