Stamer considers putting Israel-Hamas amendment to Commons amid worries over party unity

Politics

Sir Keir Starmer is considering putting an amendment to parliament on Wednesday over Labour’s position on the Israel-Hamas war.

The party has been divided over its approach to the conflict, with numerous backbenchers calling for a ceasefire.

But the leadership has stood by its own calls for so-called humanitarian pauses to allow aid and supplies to get into the Gaza Strip – echoing the position of the government.

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The discord within Labour has been ramped up by the prospect of an SNP motion being presented to parliament on Wednesday, giving all MPs an opportunity to vote in favour of a ceasefire – if it is selected by the Speaker.

Such a vote could highlight the level of upset on Sir Keir’s backbenchers, with rumours even shadow ministers could rebel against Labour’s official position.

But now Sky News understands the leadership team are having discussions about putting their own amendment to the House in a bid to maintain party unity.

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SNP’s Westminster leader Stephen Flynn denies that his motion for a ceasefire in parliament is just a ruse to embarrass the Labour leadership.

Labour insiders made it clear to Sky News’ political editor Beth Rigby that if frontbenchers defied the party position and voted with the SNP, they would have to stand down.

And one Labour adviser also told Sky News: “The order at the moment is if you’re on the frontbench and you vote for [the SNP amendment] you won’t be on the front bench anymore.”

A party figure said: “We want to table something Labour MPs can vote for that is consistent with our policy while reflecting ongoing concerns on the ground.

“We would want people to vote for our amendment and vote against the SNP amendment. Why support SNP political game playing?”

But SNP sources have said Wednesday’s vote would not be a one off, and they would keep up the pressure on Sir Keir and his MPs to back a ceasefire – drawing a dividing line between the two parties.

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