MSPs set to give cross-party backing to 'immediate ceasefire' in Gaza in Holyrood
Holyrood will give its backing to an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East on Tuesday, with MSPs set to back the demand on a cross-party basis.
It comes after MPs in the House of Commons voted against a similar motion put forward by the SNP on Wednesday.
The Scotsman understands the Scottish Government motion, which will call for an immediate ceasefire, has cross-party backing.
It is expected to pass, amended, with the backing of all parties bar the Scottish Conservatives who will put forward their own amendment to the motion.
UK Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer faced an 56-strong rebellion from within his own party on Wednesday, with ten frontbenchers who backed the SNP motion against the party whip either quitting or being sacked.
A Scottish Labour source told The Scotsman: “This week in the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Labour party will vote to reaffirm its commitment to an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.”
The motion set to be debated in Holyrood on Tuesday will include a commitment to an immediate ceasefire and a two-state solution in the region.
The government motion will ask MSPs to reaffirm support for a “credible, lasting and sustainable peace” via a two-state solution.
It will add that parliament “agrees with many in the international community that all parties must agree to an immediate ceasefire.”
This will be accepted by Scottish Labour, who will amend the motion but will not delete any of the government’s wording. It is understood this amendment is likely to be deemed acceptable by the government.
It will also be backed by the Scottish Greens and the Scottish Liberal Democrats.
A Scottish Liberal Democrats source said: “Scottish Liberal Democrats want to see an immediate bilateral ceasefire.”
The First Minister said a ceasefire is the “only way to end the tragic deaths of civilians” and urged MSPs to back the government’s motion.
Mr Yousaf said: “This week, the Scottish Parliament has an opportunity to unite to send a message of peace to world leaders and to those enduring untold suffering in the Middle East.
“The motion that will be debated, tabled today, condemns the barbaric and unjustifiable actions of Hamas, and echoes the calls of the UN Secretary-General for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.
“This is a time for all of us to show leadership in the face of this humanitarian catastrophe. Anas Sarwar must stand firm and back an immediate ceasefire."
Appearing on BBC Scotland’s Sunday Show, Mr Sarwar was challenged on his support for a ceasefire.
He said: “I support a ceasefire.
“I support the end of rocket fire going out of and into Gaza, the immediate release of hostages, the immediate access to humanitarian aid and the pathway to a peace process.
“I would have liked the Labour amendment (in the House of Commons) to go further last week and include that call for a ceasefire.”
However he criticised the BBC for asking whether he would have backed the SNP motion had he been sitting as an MP in the House of Commons. Scottish Labour’s two MPs, shadow Scotland secretary Ian Murray and Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP, Michael Shanks, both voted down the demands for a ceasefure.
“I run Scottish Labour and that’s why Scottish Labour will be supporting a ceasefire,” Mr Sarwar said.
"The idea that we are going to take a decades long conflict, when hundreds of children are dying every single day, and try and make it about the internal dynamics of a political party in opposition in the UK is quite frankly a disservice to this conflict.”
On Friday, Sir Keir maintained that UK Labour’s position on the matter was “what you would expect from someone who wants to form the next government”.
He said “working with our international allies” to free hostages taken by Hamas and push for humanitarian pauses in the fighting was the correct route forward.
During a visit to Aberdeenshire the leader said his position was a “stepping stone to a cessation to the fighting”.
He also played down splits within Labour on the issue, insisting that there was “complete unity” in the party on wanting to “alleviate the suffering” of Gazans, free Hamas’s captives and find a “pathway to the two-state solution”.
After the vote in the House of Commons, the SNP leader Humza Yousaf said he was “beyond angry” with MPs who failed to back his party’s call for an immediate ceasefire.
He said: “A ceasefire would enable a humanitarian corridor and the crucial delivery of immediate aid to those in desperate need. I am beyond angry that Scottish Labour MPs and others refused to back the calls for an immediate ceasefire.
“They are on the wrong side of history, which is unforgivable.”
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