UK (Parliament Politics Maganize) – On Wednesday, the UK parliament rejected a motion urging for an “immediate” cease-fire in Gaza. The amendment proposed by the Scottish National Party (SNP) during the King’s Speech aimed to encourage the government to “collaborate with the international community in promptly urging all parties to agree to an immediate ceasefire.” The motion received support from 125 MPs but faced opposition from 293 others. Both the ruling Conservatives and the leadership of the main opposition Labour Party explicitly stated their refusal to support the motion.
Labor Party Presenting Its Motion
Before the voting session commenced, the Labour Party presented its motion, but it was rejected by the majority of the chamber. The Labour amendment sought humanitarian “pauses,” expressing concerns that a cease-fire could jeopardize Israel’s “right to self-defense.” Despite the Labour leader’s stance, numerous Labour MPs have thrown their support behind the SNP motion, urging for an immediate cease-fire in the conflict.
Within the Labour Party, a minimum of 19 senior figures on the frontbench have expressed views on the conflict that diverge from those of their leader. Last week, Imran Hussain, a shadow minister, stepped down from his position to advocate for an immediate cease-fire. Labour has instructed its MPs to abstain from voting on the SNP’s motion, leading frontbenchers to either resign or potentially face dismissal if they choose to support it.
In anticipation of the Wednesday voting session, key figures such as Naz Shah, the opposition’s shadow Home Office minister, Helen Hayes, the shadow education minister, and Afzal Khan, the shadow trade minister, submitted their resignations from the shadow Cabinet.
In the Labour Party, a minimum of 19 senior figures on the frontbench have expressed views on the conflict that differ from those of their leader. Last week, Imran Hussain, a shadow minister, resigned from his position to advocate for an immediate cease-fire.
MPs to Abstain from Voting
Labour has directed its MPs to abstain from voting on the SNP’s motion, putting frontbenchers in the position of either resigning or potentially facing dismissal if they choose to support it. In anticipation of the Wednesday voting session, notable figures such as Naz Shah, the opposition’s shadow Home Office minister; Helen Hayes, the shadow education minister; and Afzal Khan, the shadow trade minister, have tendered their resignations from the shadow Cabinet.
Almost 70 Labour MPs have gone against their leader’s stance, urging for a cease-fire, while nearly 50 councilors have resigned from the party due to its leadership’s position on the war. After the vote, Labour leader Keir Starmer issued a statement defending his position.
“I regret that some colleagues felt unable to support the position tonight. But I wanted to be clear about where I stood, and where I will stand. Leadership is about doing the right thing. That is the least the public deserves. And the least that leadership demands.”
Keir Starmer’s recent statements asserting that a ceasefire would only embolden Hamas have sparked division within the Labour party. The official position of Labour on the conflict aligns with that of the UK government and the US, advocating for a “humanitarian pause” rather than a full ceasefire.
MPs Facing Pressure from Party
Numerous reports surfaced of Labour MPs facing pressure from the party leadership to abstain from voting for a ceasefire, with the potential consequence of dismissal. However, on Wednesday, several prominent Labour MPs publicly declared their intention to support a ceasefire even before the amendment was open to voting.
Labor’s shadow minister from Bradford West, Naz Shah, expressed her commitment to backing an amendment calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. Ms. Shah emphasized, “It would be a grave injustice if the world turned a blind eye while innocent Palestinians are being murdered by the hour.”
During Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons, SNP MP Stephen Mark Flynn expressed a poignant message, stating, “How much worse does it need to get? 4,609 children are dead, babies in the neonatal ICU are dying because they don’t have access to oxygen. For members across this house, this [vote] is a question of values and conscience.”
The PM responded, “It’s right that Israel is able to defend itself as it suffered an appalling attack by Hamas, which is a terror organization. We have consistently called for humanitarian pauses so aid can get in, and hospital staff and foreign nationals can get out.