The Liberal Democrats have come out in favour of a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza war, adding pressure on Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer over his stance on the crisis. Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said on Sunday that only an “immediate bilateral ceasefire” will resolve the conflict in the Middle East. It comes ahead of an attempt by the SNP to use an amendment to the King’s Speech to force a Commons vote on Wednesday demanding a Gaza ceasefire.
Sir Ed, who had previously called for a temporary humanitarian ceasefire, said that “it is increasingly clear that a military solution to eliminate Hamas is not possible”.
He added: “Liberal Democrats are urging the UK Government to call for an immediate bilateral ceasefire, as the best option to achieve a political solution.
“With a devastating humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, an ongoing hostage situation, and growing risk of regional escalation, we must urgently demand a different approach.”
He said freezing the conflict is “unacceptable”, adding: “We are proposing a ceasefire contingent on both parties, not as an end goal but as a step towards permanent peace.”
The question of backing a ceasefire has caused rifts within the Labour party, with Sir Keir’s calls instead for “humanitarian pauses” in the fighting upsetting many.
Currently more than a third of Labour MPs, including almost 20 frontbenchers, support a ceasefire in Gaza, while Sir Keir's position remains unchanged.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper declined to say whether Labour MPs would face being sacked if they vote for a ceasefire.
She evaded repeated questions on how MPs would be urged to vote on the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme by refusing to “pre-empt the processes around the Speaker selecting amendments”.
Labour declined to comment on “speculation” ahead of amendments being selected.
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