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Welsh MPs urged to vote for Gaza ceasefire

19 Feb 2024 3 minute read
Palestinians look for survivors after an Israeli airstrike in Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip. Photo Anas-Mohammed

Emily Price

Welsh MPs have been urged to vote in favour of a motion calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and Israel.

The motion, tabled by SNP, calls for an “immediate ceasefire”, for “the immediate release of all hostages taken by Hamas” and an end to the “collective punishment of the Palestinian people”.

It will be debated and voted upon on Wednesday (21 February).

Pressure

In recent weeks Keir Starmer has backed calls for a “sustainable ceasefire”.

The motion has the potential to pile fresh pressure on the Labour leadership over its carefully worded stance on the conflict in Gaza.

In an open letter to Labour MPs ahead of the vote, the SNP’s Westminster leader Stephen Flynn said: “For more than four months, the UK has followed the strategy of equivocation supported by Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer.

“The devastation shows it hasn’t worked. The time for equivocation is over.”

Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts has urged Welsh MPs to support the motion.

A motion tabled in the Senedd by Plaid Cymru calling for a ceasefire was supported in November after the Welsh Government abstained and offered its backbenchers a free vote.

The motion, which condemned the attacks by Hamas on Israeli civilians, and the Israeli government’s “indiscriminate attacks on Gaza”, was carried by 24 votes to 19, with 13 Senedd members abstaining.

Ms Saville Roberts said: “The Israeli government has confirmed it is planning a full-scale military offensive in Rafah where over 1 million people were forced to flee for safety. There’s nowhere left for them to go. It would be unconscionable for the House of Commons to refuse to call for an immediate ceasefire in the face of such a threat.

“That’s why Plaid Cymru are calling on all Welsh MPs to support the SNP’s ceasefire motion on Wednesday. The right time to call for a ceasefire was months ago. Now, with the death toll having risen beyond 28,000, we all have an opportunity to stand for humanity and for peace.

“The people of Palestine must have the full and consistent protection of all nations that respect the rule of law. The motion calls for a ceasefire on both sides and for the immediate release of all hostages taken by Hamas and an end to the collective punishment of the Palestinian people. The motion is clear; the Labour Party’s stance is less so. This is Keir Starmer’s opportunity to attempt to finally stand up for humanity.”

Vigils

Anti-war protesters will stage simultaneous peace vigils outside the offices of Cardiff Labour MPs on the evening before the parliamentary vote.

Jo Stevens, Kevin Brennan, Stephen Doughty, Anna McMorrin all abstained during a similar ceasefire vote in November.

Shadow Welsh secretary Jo Stevens’s Cardiff office was covered in red paint and posters which accused her of having “blood” on her hands.

She called the incident “intimidating” and “threatening”.

The vigils come as a recent YouGov poll said two-thirds of Britons think Israel should stop its military action and call a ceasefire, with less than quarter of the public believing Israel’s attack on Gaza is justified.


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Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 month ago

The last time a vote calling for a ceasefire in Gaza was held (in November) only one labour MP in Wales voted for it – absolutely shameful.

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