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    5. Sir Keir changes position on Gaza for fifth time, backing ..

    Politics

    Sir Keir changes position on Gaza for fifth time, backing 'immediate ceasefire'

    Sir Keir Starmer introduced the amendment after facing pressure to support the SNP proposal. Photo: Dan Kitwood/PA

    Sir Keir Starmer outlined his fifth new role in Gaza on Tuesday when he backed an “immediate” ceasefire to avoid another destructive uprising.

    The Labor leader bowed to pressure from left-wing MPs and the Scottish National Party, supporting calls in favor of Israel. agree to an immediate truce.

    Stephen Flynn, leader of the Scottish National Party in Westminster, claimed victory and said nationalists had “put a backbone into the Labor Party”.

    Sir Keir moved an amendment supporting an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” after he was under pressure to support the SNP motion, which will be put to a vote on Wednesday.

    ‌He did this to avoid a rebellion from his party after 56 of his MPs defied his orders to vote for a truce in November, including 10 front-line members who resigned.

    ‌The Labor Party amendment matches. The SNP calls for an immediate ceasefire but adds caveats, including that Hamas must lay down its arms and hand over the Israeli hostages.

    ‌The introduction of this bill was enough to ease the threat of another major uprising from Labor members party as former rebels said they would now support the leadership.

    Palestinians carry sacks of flour they grabbed from an aid truck near an Israeli checkpoint. Photo: Kosay Al-Nemer/Reuters

    ‌But it still falls short of the demands of some left-wing activists, who said there were caveats added to the SNP proposal. showed that the amendment was a “weasel.”

    ‌The Government tabled its own amendment, which did not go as far as Labour's and only supported “moves towards a permanent ceasefire”.

    Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's action means Labour's amendment cannot be chosen for vote at all.

    This would create a huge headache for Sir Keir, who would then have to decide whether to beat his MPs into abstaining from the SNP proposal, risking another huge rebellion, or stand down and let them vote for him without sanction.

    It is the first time Sir Keir has called for an immediate ceasefire and the fourth time he has changed his position on Gaza in four months.

    Since the October 7 attack, he has resisted calls for a truce. Since then he has supported “humanitarian pauses”, a “sustainable” ceasefire and now an “immediate” one.

    ‌David Lammy, the shadow foreign secretary, explained the latest changes as arguments for an impending Israeli attack on Rafah. meant “the situation has changed.”‌

    He added that the wording of Labor's amendment “reflects” the position of key international allies, including Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

    Palestinians search for survivors after a house was destroyed in an airstrike on the Al Nusairat refugee camp. Photo: MOHAMMED SABER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

    ‌Mr Flynn said: “Thanks to parliamentary pressure we have strengthened the core of the Labor Party. Their support for an immediate ceasefire is welcome.”

    “Former rebels welcomed Sir Keir's change of direction and said they expected left-wing colleagues to rally behind his amendment on Wednesday.”

    Clive Betts, who voted for the ceasefire in November, said it was a “really solid agreement.” This is a strong statement that I think will unite the party.”‌

    Another rebel told The Telegraph they were prepared to support the proposal, saying the leadership had “chosen party unity over its past misguided positions”.

    ‌Labour is set to force its MPs to abstain from the Scottish National Party proposal, meaning Sir Keir still faces the risk of a rebellion if his own amendment is not passed by the House of Commons.

    ‌The SNP have signaled they will support it, but the Tories have not revealed their plans and could choose to block the amendment by voting against it.

    ‌In such a scenario, Labor MPs would vote for the SNP's original proposal, with some predicting that If it is implemented, there will be an uprising as big as the one in November. Left-wing activists are calling on Labor MPs to challenge Sir Keir, arguing he has “muddied the waters” by tying conditions to his support for a ceasefire.< /p>

    ‌His amendment stipulates that any truce is conditional on Hamas agreeing to lay down its arms and return the hostages it took on October 7.

    ‌It also removes reference in the SNP's original proposal to “collective punishment of the Palestinian people” and asserts Israel's right to self-defense.

    ‌Andrew Fisher, who was policy director under former Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, said the wording “dilutes the SNP's call for an immediate ceasefire.”

    Israeli soldiers ride on a tank near the border with the Gaza Strip Photo: Tsafrir Abaev/AP

    ‌Diane Abbott, former shadow home secretary , added: “If Starmer really wanted a ceasefire, he would make a simple amendment to say so.

    ‌“Instead he lays out a table full of sweet words. This takes the pressure off Labor MPs, but means he can later say his position has not changed.”

    ‌Momentum, a left-wing campaign group, said it would continue to lobby Labor MPs to voted in favor of the SNP's original proposal.‌

    The statement said: “By calling for a ceasefire so conditional and stipulated, the Labor leadership is providing cover for the continuation of Israel's brutal war.”

    ‌ “Labour must provide the moral leadership that the Tories lack, rather than muddy the waters. Simply put, Keir Starmer needs to stop fussing.”

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