Lisa Nandy has warned of a “hardening of position and language by Hamas” after confirming Labour have tabled an amendment to parliament on Wednesday.
The shadow international development minister confirmed the move amid concerns some Labour MPs could be tempted to vote for a rival SNP amendment calling for a ceasefire in Gaza that would expose divisions within the party.
Outlining the move, Nandy said there was a need for the “world has to focus on the need to get humanitarian pauses extended so that we can get aid in, we can hostages out, and we can start to work towards the quickest, most immediate end to the violence that we can achieve.”
But explaining why a call for a ceasefire in Israel’s war on Hamas was not being called for Nandy said:”We’ve seen a hardening of the position by Hamas, really hardline language coming from the leadership.”
"Humanitarian pauses are currently the only viable prospect"
Lisa Nandy says the Labour party are 'tabling an amendment to the King's speech in order to give the house a clear ability to express one view on the route forwards'. https://t.co/PAiZ4D1jU3
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The Wigan MP added there had also been “an escalation of the bombing in Gaza, with the appalling prospect of one million children, two and a half million people being displaced.”
She said “we need to see an urgent pause in the violence in order to get aid in, get the hostages out” ahead of an eventual end to violence before a “credible diplomatic process” could begin.
A Labour spokesperson said the amendment “reaffirms the position” set out by Sir Keir Starmer and reflected the party’s concerns regarding the status of Israeli hostages, the “insufficient” amount of aid and utilities entering and being distributed in Gaza, the scale of civilian casualties and the amount of violence on the West Bank.
The spokesman hinted that if the the House of Commons Speaker selects the party’s amendment, Labour MPs will be ordered to abstain on the SNP amendment.
“We’re not going to be engaging with the party political game-playing by the SNP in parliament,” they said.
Some on the left of the party have attempted to criticise Starmer’s stance on the issue, using the ceasefire call as a way to unite MPs and councillors in touting attacks on the leader.
So far only once shadow frontbencher has resigned on the issue, Imran Hussain, but other MPs, including the more moderate Jess Phillips have expressed support for a ceasefire on social media.
Many MPs have responded to the views of sections of their local electorate on Israel and Hamas.
But earlier in the week, shadow health secretary Wes Streeting pointed out that the only parties that can actually determine whether or not to agree to a ceasefire are the Israeli government and Hamas.
Another senior Labour MP told Jewish News he feared some MPs were “looking at Twitter too much” to formulate their view on the conflict.
The Labour leadership is likely to react angrily to MPs who decide to vote in support of the SNP amendment, with sackings of any frontbencher likely.
In Scotland the SNP has made no secret of the fact it wants to use the conflict in Gaza to expose political differences with Labour.
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