Commons Speaker rejects latest SNP call for Gaza ceasefire debate

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Commons Speaker rejects latest SNP call for Gaza ceasefire debate

Sir Linsday Hoyle rejects latest SNP move for second Commons Gaza debate, with the government set to issue its own statement on the matter on Tuesday

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP
House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP

Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has turned down a renewed SNP request for a new emergency debate on Gaza, after questioning its relevance with the government set to release a statement on the matter tomorrow.

The decision came as the SNP called for an independent investigation into what Keir Starmer did to ensure his party’s motion was put to a vote in a debate last week.

A senior Westminster source told Jewish News there was “no truth” to claims Starmer had been instrumental in the “bullying” of Hoyle at last Wednesday’s meeting, after he agreed to allow a Labour motion to be heard.

Stephen Flynn, the SNP’s leader in Westminster, on Monday raised a point of order suggesting he had tried in “good faith” to have the on his party’s call for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Flynn also said his party wished to call for an arms sale ban to Israel.

Giving an explanation for his decision, Hoyle said the first was the extent to which the subject is a matter for ministers.

The Speaker said in this case the matter does not relate to areas of ministerial responsibility.

Hoyle then noted that the government have announced that they intend to release their own statement on Gaza on Tuesday, leaving no time for any debate before.

The Speaker said this meant that this does not mean MPs cannot apply for another emergency debate on Gaza in future.

Responding to the decision, Flynn said: “Yet again, Westminster is failing the people of Gaza by blocking a vote on the urgent action the UK government must take to help make an immediate ceasefire happen.”

He added: “It is regrettable that this inexplicable decision will further erode trust in the speaker. The speaker broke the rules last week – and this week he has broken his word. How can MPs have any trust in the speaker when he makes a public commitment one minute, only to rip it up the next.”

Well-placed Westminster sources told Jewish News there was “no truth” in claims Labour leader Starmer, or anyone else in the party, had “bullied” Hoyle into accepting their motion at last Wednesday’s debate.

The source said the meeting between Hoyle and Starmer to discuss this matter had been witnessed by a total of six clerks. Three had been in the room when the meeting had began, and they were replaced by a further three.

Also in the room, according to the source, was Labour chief whip Alan Campbell.

They meeting was said to have been “amicable” as Starmer attempted to persuade Hoyle to make his decision.

They added there was “no bullying” of the Speaker, as has been claimed, and that Starmer behave “like the lawyer he is” throughout the talks.

More than 70 MPs that signed a so-called early day motion tabled by a Tory MP declaring no confidence in the Speaker, in response to the chaotic scenes in the Commons last week.

Earlier on Monday there had been further exchanges in the Commons between MPs on the impact of the on-going Gaza conflict on their safety, and the continued protests in the issue.

At Home Office questions Jonathan Gullis said a pro-Palestinian mob appeared outside a Tory fundraising event on Friday, where a police officer allowed protesters into the building to intimidate people.

Labour’s Dawn Butler said she had had to get extra police support this weekend due to the far-right abuse she had suffered, inspired in party by the “hate” peddled by Lee Anderson.

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