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SIR KEIR STARMER is risking a major split in Labour tonight as he prepares to sack any shadow minister supporting a Gaza ceasefire in key Commons votes.
Eighteen frontbenchers have publicly backed a ceasefire in defiance of Sir Keir, along with about 60 more backbench Labour MPs.
It is uncertain how many shadow ministers will back the SNP amendment urging an immediate ceasefire.
Labour whips have ordered MPs to abstain on the SNP amendment, but any dismissals would spark an immediate storm.
As MPs prepared to vote tonight, a mass rally organised by Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Stop the War took place in Parliament Square demanding that they vote for peace.
Extinction Rebellion activists also had to be removed from the Commons after holding up “Ceasefire now” signs during the King’s Speech debate.
Labour members from more than 500 constituencies across the country are among more than 10,000 members signing a petition organised by the Labour and Palestine group calling “on the Labour Party leadership to join the growing international calls for an immediate ceasefire in Israel and Palestine.”
Apsana Begum, Labour MP for Poplar and Limehouse, said: “The ongoing dehumanisation and collective punishment of Palestinians will be marked in history as a crime against humanity.
“It is vital that the Labour Party stand up against war crimes and be counted.”
Labour national executive member Jess Barnard said: “Keir Starmer is not just out of step with Labour’s membership, he is on another planet — 76 per cent of the general public support a ceasefire.”
Fellow NEC member Gemma Bolton said that Labour members “rightly understand a ceasefire is the only way to stop the horrific scenes we have seen broadcast from Gaza — and commence the process of negotiating a just and lasting peace.”
Pressure also mounted today on Labour’s two Scottish MPs — Ian Murray and Michael Shanks — after Scottish leader Anas Sarwar confirmed that the Holyrood group would back a Green motion calling for a ceasefire next week.
Despite numerous Labour MSPs, including Katy Clark, Carol Mochan and Richard Leonard imploring them to vote for the SNP’s ceasefire amendment at Westminster, they remained tight-lipped about their intentions.
The Commons took place after this article went live.
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