Scottish Labour rebel against Sir Keir Starmer in Gaza ceasefire vote

Anas Sarwar's party backed SNP calls in the Scottish Parliament for an immediate ceasefire in the Strip


Sir Keir Starmer is facing pressure from Scottish Labour after they backed SNP calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf tabled a motion in the devolved Scottish Parliament calling for an immediate truce in contrast to Labour's call for longer "humanitarian pauses" rather than a ceasefire.

Yousaf told MSPs on Tuesday: “This [Scottish] Government is unequivocal in its condemnation of the Israeli government cutting off water, food, fuel and supplies to the entire population of Gaza. Collective punishment can never be justified.

"Doctors, like my own brother-in-law Mohammed, are forced to practice medieval medicine, reportedly amputating limbs, stitching up serious wounds, even performing caesarean sections, without sufficient anaesthetic. This is a cruelty that cannot be allowed to continue.

"This Parliament and the international community must unite in calling for an immediate ceasefire."

Yousaf's motion, amended by a Scottish Labour amendment which called for the International Criminal Court to investigate the conflict's conduct, passed by 90 votes to 28.

Sarwar said "the full force of international diplomacy must be used to create the conditions to make an immediate ceasefire a reality".

He added: “We must stay true to an international rules-based system and everyone’s actions must be judged to make sure that they’re in proper accordance with that international humanitarian law.”

In the debate, Yousaf also recalled the fear experienced by his mother-in-law Elizabeth El-Nakla following the October 7 terror attack by Hamas. 

El-Nakla and her husband Maged, the parents of Yousaf's wife Nadia, escaped Gaza and returned to Dundee earlier this month after being trapped in the Strip for weeks.

Meanwhile, a Scottish Conservative amendment, instead backing an humanitarian pause, fell by 89 votes to 28.

Scottish Tory external affairs spokesman Donald Cameron said: "Israel has the right to defend itself against terrorists, but every precaution must be taken by the Israeli government to protect innocent civilians from harm."

He said the Scottish Tories "abhor the loss of innocent lives" but added that there was "no hope" a ceasefire would work.

Cameron added: "A ceasefire requires both of the two opposing sides to support it and, regrettably, it has been clear for some time now that Hamas will not respect a ceasefire.

"When that is the approach and leadership of Hamas, there is no hope that a full and meaningful ceasefire would work at this stage."

Last week in the Commons, 56 Labour MPs, including eight frontbenchers, broke the party whip to support an SNP motion at Westminster calling for a ceasefire.

Labour whips made clear before the debate that frontbenchers would face dismissal for backing the SNP amendment. 

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