'I want to do what is right': Labour's ceasefire motion is 'broader' and 'goes further' than the SNP's, says David Lammy

20 February 2024, 20:00 | Updated: 21 February 2024, 09:42

Shadow Foreign Secretary quizzed on Labour's position over Gaza

Jasmine Moody

By Jasmine Moody

David Lammy has insisted Labour's ceasefire motion - which includes Palestinian recognition - "goes further" than the one tabled by the SNP.

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Speaking to LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr, David Lammy explained how Labour's ceasefire motion differs from the Scottish National Party's.

In an apparent attempt to get ahead of another possible rebellion, Labour on Tuesday tabled its lengthy amendment, which will be voted on tomorrow.

The motion calls on MPs to "support Australia, Canada and New Zealand's calls for Hamas to release and return all hostages and for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, which means an immediate stop to the fighting and a ceasefire that lasts and is observed by all sides."

David Lammy told Andrew Marr that it would be "great if we could speak with one voice" but that Labour's amendment includes Palestinian recognition.

"We've crafted a motion that I think could attract the support of the government, as well as support the SNP and I saw there some generosity towards the motion as it's now been crafted," Mr Lammy said.

"I want to do what is right", Mr Lammy told Andrew Marr.
"I want to do what is right", Mr Lammy told Andrew Marr. Picture: LBC

"The SNP motion calls for an immediate ceasefire. It doesn't speak to that ceasefire being lasting.

"And therefore, our motion talks also about Palestinian recognition, which is the issue that the Labour Party has held dear for many years.

"It talks about that two-state solution, that horizon that we've got to get to. And in the end, it's politics and negotiation that will get us there.

"But Keir Starmer and I have come out of Munich, we've spoken to our European colleagues, Keir met with Antony Blinken. We've spoken to Israeli colleagues and others. And it's that that gives us a motion that I hope the whole house can now get behind.’

He added: "I want us to do what is right … I do think that the motion that we have crafted does that… if you look in detail at that SNP motion, there's a lot that leaves out."

Palestinians flee ongoing Israeli attacks, seeking safe regions in Deir Al-Balah
Palestinians flee ongoing Israeli attacks, seeking safe regions in Deir Al-Balah. Picture: Getty

Sir Keir Starmer has previously called for a "ceasefire that lasts" in the Middle East, but stopped short of using the word "immediate".

The Labour leader's position on the conflict has long caused unease among some in his party, with dozens of Labour MPs breaking ranks over an earlier SNP motion three months ago.

Read more: 'My uncle is increasingly unhinged': Democracy will be 'over' if Donald Trump becomes president again, his niece says

Read more: Dozen arrested as 30,000 pro-Palestine demonstrators march through central London calling for Gaza ceasefire

Andrew Marr then quizzed the shadow foreign secretary, saying that Labour seems "more concerned about the optics" of not being aligned with SNP, rather than achieving a ceasefire with their amendment.

David Lammy replied: "Quite the opposite. Look at the motion that we've crafted. The overwhelming majority of your listeners would agree with all that is in that motion.

"It's thorough… That is what the UK Parliament should be doing. This is too serious to play partisan politics about, way too serious."

Hamas' October 7 attack on Israel killed around 1,200 people, with around 250 taken hostage.
Hamas' October 7 attack on Israel killed around 1,200 people, with around 250 taken hostage. Picture: Getty

It comes in the wake of a row over the Rochdale by-election, which saw Labour take the highly unusual step of withdrawing support for candidate Azhar Ali after he suggested Israel took Hamas's October attack as a pretext to invade Gaza.

No 10 said it was not yet able to set out how the government planned to vote on Wednesday's SNP motion.

A spokeswoman for the prime minister said its position had not changed and that ministers continue to support an "immediate humanitarian pause" that would allow time for hostages to be released and aid to reach the Palestinian people.

Any ceasefire would need to be sustainable by meeting certain conditions, including "hostages being released, Hamas no longer being in charge of Gaza (and) removing the terrorist infrastructure", Rishi Sunak's spokeswoman said.

Hamas' October 7 attack on Israel killed around 1,200 people, with around 250 taken hostage.

Militants still hold around 130 hostages, and a quarter of them are believed to be dead.

The war unleashed by the atrocity has killed at least 29,100 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry.

Meanwhile, the Prince of Wales called for fighting to end "as soon as possible" and increased humanitarian support for Gaza.

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