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  • Kirsten

SNP Immediate Ceasefire Motion

This evening should have been about a ceasefire. It should have been about the people suffering in Gaza and in Israel.

Following the SNP Opposition Day debate, I had intended to vote - twice: on both the SNP and Labour motions - for a ceasefire in the Middle East.

No such votes were taken, though I was in the lobby ready to vote in favour of the Labour motion. Instead, confusingly, the Labour motion was nodded through so is agreed, a motion to have the House sit in private was defeated (correctly, we should absolutely not have these debates in private), and our SNP motion was not taken at all.

The situation in the Commons throughout the day has been disgraceful, chaotic and deeply depressing. On this most significant of issues, I cannot comprehend why the Speaker made the decisions he did - against the advice of the Clerk - which we have all seen play out today. I do note his apology to the SNP this evening.

Much more important than all that, the situation on the ground remains horrifically difficult and the people living in that part of the world, whether in Israel or Gaza, should expect us as parliamentarians, to do all we can to make our voices heard on the urgent need to secure peace now and a peaceful future.

Gazan families are bereft and heartbroken by the devastating assaults, the terrible loss of loved ones, and the horrific fear of what comes next. Israeli families remain devastated with worry for hostages who are still missing following the shocking terror attack by Hamas. Women and children, the most vulnerable, are disproportionately affected and continue to be subject to horrific treatment, injury and death.

A ceasefire and peace must be what we all press for.

This is such a serious issue and one which I know is of such concern to many in our community who want the deaths to stop now, the hostages to be returned home now, and a sustained focus on a peaceful two-state future.

The conflict has a further impact at home also with shocking rises in Antisemitism and Islamophobia. There is simply never an excuse nor justification for that, and I condemn it unreservedly. We must all be better than that.

Today the Westminster parliament did not show itself well, with procedural shenanigans and rule changes on the hoof. But none of that must take our focus away from the issue at hand. The people of Gaza and the people of Israel need us to speak alongside the voices being heard around the world and demand a sustainable, peaceful future for them all.


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