Scotland’s Humza Yousaf denounces Keir Starmer for ‘lack of moral leadership’ over Gaza

Scotland’s Humza Yousaf denounces Keir Starmer for ‘lack of moral leadership’ over Gaza
Scotland’s First Minister has criticised British Labour leader Keir Starmer for threatening frontbench Labour MPs who vote for an SNP amendment calling for a ceasefire in Gaza
2 min read
15 November, 2023
Scotland's First Minister Humza Yousaf has repeatedly called for a ceasefire in Gaza [Getty]

Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf has hit back at Keir Starmer, following reports that the Labour Party leader will sack any frontbencher who votes for the Scottish National Party (SNP) amendment on a ceasefire in Gaza. 

The SNP tabled an amendment to Wednesday’s debate on the King’s Speech, emphasising that the British government must “join with the international community in urgently pressing all parties to agree to an immediate ceasefire.” 

In a statement on X, Yousaf called out Starmer's threats to his own shadow cabinet and frontbenchers, saying that the Labour leader's actions showed "a complete lack of moral leadership".

“Keir Starmer is reportedly threatening to sack any Labour frontbench MP who votes for a ceasefire tomorrow. What a complete lack of moral leadership,” he wrote. 

“The SNP will force a vote on a ceasefire. This is a plea for every MP to do the right thing and vote with their conscience.” 

Yousaf has previously criticised opponents of a ceasefire in Gaza saying they are "enabling suffering" as Israel continues to indiscriminately bomb the Palestinian enclave and kill hundreds of people every day.  

Yousaf, whose Palestinian in-laws had been trapped in Gaza until last week, had consistently reiterated his support for an immediate ceasefire for the territory, which Israel has bombed relentlessly since 7 October killing over 11,000 people, mostly women, children, and the elderly. 

The SNP’s amendment was not the first time a ceasefire motion for Gaza was put forward. UK Labour MP Zarah Sultana also called for an "immediate ceasefire" in Israel's war on Gaza and the return of hostages held by Hamas. 

This was seen by some as a direct challenge to Keir Starmer's authority. Bradford MP Imran Hussain also called for a ceasefire and resigned from the shadow cabinet.

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The Labour Party leader has so far rejected growing calls in his party for a ceasefire. He has only called for a temporary "humanitarian pause", a view that mirrors that of the UK and US leaders. 

The Labour leadership will reportedly table its own amendment to urge MPs not to vote for one being pushed by the SNP, The Telegraph reported.