SNP chief boasts his party has 'inserted a backbone' into Labour after Gaza U-turn

February 20, 2024
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SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn said his party has “inserted a backbone” into Labour after it shifted its stance on Gaza.

Sir Keir Starmer‘s party called for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” in the Israel-Hamas conflict in a major change in its position.

The Opposition party has tabled an amendment to the SNP‘s Gaza motion, to be voted on in the Commons tomorrow.

Mr Flynn said: “We’ve been Westminster’s conscience on the brutality unfolding in Gaza. Our calls for an immediate ceasefire have been clear and consistent.

“Through Parliamentary pressure we have inserted a backbone into the Labour Party. Their support for an immediate ceasefire is welcome.”

Sir Keir, who has come under huge pressure over his stance on the war, has previously urged for a “sustainable ceasefire” but has not used the word “immediate”.

Dozens of Labour MPs broke ranks three months ago to back a similar SNP motion.

In an apparent attempt to get ahead of another possible rebellion, Labour today tabled its own lengthy amendment.

A party spokesperson said: “Our amendment calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, in line with our allies.

“We need the hostages released and returned. We need the fighting to stop now. We need a massive humanitarian aid programme for Gaza. And any military action in Rafah cannot go ahead.

“There needs to be an end to violence on all sides. Israelis have the right to the security that the horror of October 7 cannot happen again.

“We want the fighting to stop now. We also have to be clear on how we prevent the violence starting up again. There will be no lasting peace without a diplomatic process that delivers a two-state solution, with a safe and secure Israel alongside a viable Palestinian state.”

The motion calls on MPs to “support Australia, Canada and New Zealand’s calls for Hamas to release and return all hostages and for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, which means an immediate stop to the fighting and a ceasefire that lasts and is observed by all sides”.

Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy said Labour had shifted because of “huge concern” about Israel‘s planned offensive in Rafah where more than a million Palestinians are sheltering and the “tremendous humanitarian catastrophe” in the territory.

The SNP‘s motion is shorter and calls for “an immediate ceasefire” without some of the qualification attached by Labour.



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