Sir Keir Starmer calls for Gaza ceasefire that lasts

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said a “ceasefire that lasts” must “happen now” in the Israel-Gaza conflict. He was speaking at a Scottish Labour conference in Glasgow, a day after it passed a motion calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

On Wednesday, there will be a SNP-led vote in the Commons on an immediate ceasefire, three months after 56 Labour MPs backed a previous SNP motion. The situation puts Sir Keir under fresh pressure over his stance on the crisis.

Speaking to delegates on Sunday, Sir Keir said everyone wanted an end to the fighting, “not just for now, not just for a pause, but permanently”. A ceasefire that lasts. This is what must happen now. The fighting must stop now.”

But the Labour leader stopped short of using the word “immediate” which is what the SNP is calling for in terms of a ceasefire announcement.

Earlier, David Lammy said Labour would be scrutinising the SNP motion ahead of the vote, but he said that any proposal must include a permanent solution to stop the conflict.

Speaking on BBC One’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, he said he was not convinced the proposed wording posted online gave details of a “sustainable” ceasefire – but said he had not seen the full motion.

He also warned parliamentary votes in the UK “will not bring about a ceasefire”.

Mr Lammy said an agreement would need to come from Hamas, the Israeli government and “partners for peace saying the fighting must now stop”. On Saturday, Anas Sarwar – the leader of the party in Scotland – described the SNP motion as “perfectly reasonable”, after Scottish Labour had voted at its conference in favour of backing an “immediate” ceasefire.

But the UK Labour Party stance has consistently been that any ceasefire must be sustainable – and that was why. there was a clear split in the party in the vote in November.

Of the 56 Labour MPs who voted with the SNP motion then, 10 were frontbenchers who left their shadow ministerial positions as a result of taking a position at odds with the party leadership. The Gaza conflict was debated during the second day of the Scottish Labour conference in Glasgow. The ceasefire motion was passed unopposed by delegates.

It urges an end to rocket fire into and out of Gaza, the unconditional release of hostages taken by Hamas, the restoration of essential supplies and a pathway to peace.

The SNP’s Westminster leader, Stephen Flynn, has written an open letter to MPs to back his party’s opposition day motion calling “for an immediate ceasefire” in Gaza.

“It’s essential that the UK changes course now and backs an immediate ceasefire without further delay,” he said.

If passed, the motion is not binding on the government. Instead, they typically express opposition MPs’ position on a particular issue.

Mr Sarwar said there was no “distance” between Scottish Labour’s position and Sir Keir – despite the Labour leader failing to use the term “immediate ceasefire” in his speech.

Speaking to the BBC Scotland’s The Sunday Show, Mr Sarwar said: “The entire UK Labour Party want to see the violence stop right now, we want to see a ceasefire.”

Mr Sarwar said Labour had been in touch with the SNP’s whips about the wording of the ceasefire motion that will be voted on this Wednesday. However, the SNP’s chief whip, Owen Thompson, denied there had been any contact.

If there is a split in opinion in the party, then Labour’s two Scottish MPs – Michael Shanks and Ian Murray – will have to decide whether to follow the views expressed in the Scottish Labour motion and therefore side with the SNP. Both MPs abstained in the November vote.

Source: BBC

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