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UK Labour Party divided after Starmer votes to abstain on call for ceasefire

Wednesday 15 November, after the Scottish National Party (SNP) proposed a vote for a ceasefire due to the ascending deaths and fatalities in Gaza. There was a call for an immediate ceasefire vote at the House of Commons.

The Westminster SNP leader Stephen Flynn called out Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Keir Starmer saying that they can not “sit on their hands while innocent men, women and children are being killed through collective punishment.” On the eve of the 16th, the vote was brought to 294 against 125 for and 222 votes to abstain. With Sunak voting against a ceasefire and Starmer abstaining.

For Starmer tensions within the Labour Party began before the votes were cast. After instructing his Party to Abstain from voting, 10 of Starmer's frontbenchers resigned and 56 other Labour MPs voted in favor of a ceasefire. One of the 10 frontbenchers was Labour deputy Jess Phillips. Phillips later took to X releasing a letter addressed to Starmer to resign from her post as Domestic Abuse and Safeguarding Shadow Minister. “I must vote with my constituents, my head, and my heart which has felt it has been breaking the last few weeks with the horror of the situation,” Phillips wrote.

Yasmin Qureshi, Afzal Khan, and Paula Barker were also amongst the 10 shadow ministers to resign.

The following day after the vote six Labour councillors in Walsall resigned over Starmer's position on the Gaza conflict. They released a letter expressing that the current leadership has "lost its moral compass".

Starmer made a statement following the vote “I regret that some colleagues felt unable to support the position tonight. But I wanted to be clear about where I stood, and where I will stand.” Rather than a ceasefire, Starmer has called for a ‘Humanitarian pause’ to allow Gazans access to aid, food, water, utilities, and medicine.

Starmer would now rather focus on moving forth after the vote saying "I want us to move forward as united as we can." Starmer makes his position on the Gaza situation clear telling ITV News “My focus and attention is there, and that's where it is and where it will always be."


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