UK to demand Israel/Gaza ceasefire – but only after ‘chaos’ in the Commons

Lindsay Hoyle: his choices in the ceasefire debate led to considerably more contrition than you can see in this image.

What an unholy mess.

After Commons Speaker Lyndsay Hoyle broke convention to accept an Opposition amendment to an Opposition motion calling for a ceasefire in the Israel/Gaza conflict, the debate on the most serious issue facing the world today descended into a farcical row about procedure.

Hoyle left the Speaker’s chair while the debate was still ongoing, prompting Stephen Flynn, the SNP’s Westminster leader, to demand that he return to the House of Commons to explain what had happened.

He said if the Labour Party’s amendment was carried, then the SNP vote would not be held. He said this amounted to telling the SNP “our views and our votes in this house are irrelevant to him”.

According to the BBC, Conservative and SNP MPs then walked out of the Commons chamber in protest at Hoyle’s handling of the debate. Concerns were repeated that he had been pressured into accepting Labour’s amendment with threats that, otherwise, he would not be re-elected as Speaker after the general election.

On top of all this, some smartass called for the remainder of the debate to be held in private – meaning all members of the public must leave, broadcasting of proceedings ends, and the official record Hansard does not produce a transcript of what MPs say – but decisions are still recorded.

If it had passed, this would have raised more concerns about a lack of democracy and accountability. It didn’t, though.

Labour’s amendment – and then the SNP’s amended motion – was then passed without a vote – while SNP and Tory MPs were still outside the Commons chamber.

Because they walked out in protest at the Speaker, they did not have the opportunity to register their votes on the calls for an immediate ceasefire. So Labour MPs were very nearly the only ones voting.

In the meantime, Hoyle was located and reappeared to claim that he had not been put under any pressure by Keir Starmer or any other Labour MP.

“I wanted to do the best by every member of the house,” he said.

“I regret how it’s ended up. It was not my intention. I wanted all to ensure they could express their views. As it was, in particularly the SNP, were unable to vote on their own proposition.

“It is with my sadness that it ended in this position. It was never my intention. I recognise the strength of feeling of this house and its members. I will reflect on my part in that. I do not want it to have ended like this.”

He said he would meet party leaders and chief whips to discuss the best way forward, and added: “I thought I was doing the right thing. I do take responsibility for my actions.”

That was not enough for Mr Flynn. He acknowledged Hoyle’s apology but said the Speaker was warned that his decision would lead to the SNP not having a vote: “I am afraid that is treating myself and my colleagues in the SNP with complete and utter contempt.”

To Hoyle, he said: “Your position is intolerable.”

He clarified his position to journalists outside, saying there could be no vote on the SNP’s motion because the Labour party put pressure on the Speaker so that “Labour’s show was the only show in town.”

“This was all about something so much bigger than us and yet here we are talking about all of the wrong things” he says.

He said he had wanted to call for a ceasefire in Gaza with his party’s motion, but “this place has turned it into a complete pantomime.”

It is easy to understand why the SNP should be unhappy with Labour’s amendment, which is far more sympathetic to Israel than their motion would have been.

The amendment calls for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” in Gaza, but does not mention the “collective punishment of the Palestinian people” which was part of the SNP motion and amounts to a war crime.

The Labour amendment also “condemns the terrorism of Hamas” and notes “that Israel cannot be expected to cease fighting if Hamas continues with violence”. And it calls for the release of hostages and international aid to be allowed into Gaza.

Some have said the amendment amounts to demanding a ceasefire “when Israel feels like it” – which is no good at all because Israel will feel like it after Gaza is leveled and every last child, woman and man there is dead or has been expelled.

So, thanks to Labour’s saboteurs, a debate that should have condemned Israel’s genocide of Palestinians in Gaza became a silly squabble about procedure, with an amendment that makes Israel look like the victim passed almost unnoticed.

Benjamin Netanyahu must be laughing like the maniac he is.


  1. The Toffee February 22, 2024 at 4:55 am - Reply

    I didn’t want it to end like this, it was not my intention”

    What bleedin’ way did you think it was gonna end, cretin? And what WAS your intention?

    • Martyn February 25, 2024 at 10:13 am - Reply

      This ‘demand for a ceasefire’ is meaningless…It will be ignored by the blood thirsty, genocidal maniacs, Israel, and their supporters.

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