Israel-Gaza: Which UK politicians have called for a ceasefire? Sir Keir Starmer says 'fighting must stop now'

 (Jane Barlow/PA) (Sir Keir Starmer has called for a “ceasefire that lasts” in Gaza)
(Jane Barlow/PA) (Sir Keir Starmer has called for a “ceasefire that lasts” in Gaza)

Sir Keir Starmer, the leader of the British Labour Party, said on Sunday, February 18 that Israel and Hamas should maintain a lasting ceasefire.

He made this statement before the parliament's anticipated discussion of the crisis, which has sparked dissension within the opposition party.

He faced resistance from about one-third of his lawmakers last year when they backed demands for an instant ceasefire. On Wednesday, November 15, 2023, 56 Labour MPs (out of a total of 198 in the House of Commons) defied party policy by voting to call for an "immediate ceasefire".

The party was also forced to drop support for a candidate because of remarks he made earlier this month regarding Israel.

Labour declared that it would no longer back Azhar Ali, its candidate in the by-election for Rochdale in northern England after he made the suggestion that Israel had loosened security in the lead-up to Hamas' attack last year, giving justification to invade Gaza.

But what has Sir Keir said in regards to a ceasefire and which other politicians have called for a ceasefire?

What has Keir Starmer said about a ceasefire?

Addressing the Scottish Labour conference, Sir Keir said: "What we all want to see ... (is) an end to the fighting not just now, not just for a pause, but permanently. A ceasefire that lasts ... that is what must happen now."

There will be a Scottish National Party (SNP) led vote in the Commons this Wednesday, 21 February on an immediate ceasefire, three months after 56 Labour MPs backed a previous SNP motion.

Which other politicians have called for a ceasefire?

Sadiq Khan

The London Mayor posted a video on X, previously known as Twitter, asking for a ceasefire in October 2023.

“I join the international community in calling for a cease-fire,” he said. “It will stop the killing and would allow vital aid supplies to reach those who need it in Gaza, but it will also allow the international community more time to prevent a protracted conflict in the region and further devastating loss of life.”

Israel "has a right to defend itself" and to attack Hamas, Khan continued, but it does not have the right to flout international law.

Anas Sarwar

The Scottish Labour leader also took to X to announce his support for a ceasefire.

“We need to see the immediate release of hostages, immediate access to humanitarian supplies … and the immediate cessation of violence with an end to rocket fire into and out of Gaza,”

He added: “Let me be clear: that means a ceasefire right now.”

Stephen Flynn

The Scottish Nationalist leader will intensify calls for an end to the violence in the Palestinian enclave during a debate on opposition day in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

In an open letter, Flynn said: "For more than four months, the UK has followed the strategy of equivocation supported by Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer. The devastation shows it hasn't worked. The time for equivocation is over.

"By failing to join the UN, world leaders and humanitarian organisations in calling for an immediate ceasefire - the UK has made one less likely.

"I hope Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer will find the courage to do the only right thing but, if they won't, it falls to us, MPs of all parties, to show that we demand a ceasefire now."

Humza Yousaf

Scotland’s first minister has previously denounced the Labour Party and the UK government for not pressing Israel for an urgent ceasefire.

"Keir Starmer and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's unwillingness to call for an immediate ceasefire will never be forgotten, nor forgiven," he said on X.

"The UK Government and Labour Opposition should hang their heads in shame as we witness a massacre that is killing thousands of women & children in front of our very eyes," he added.

Andy Burnham

The Manchester Mayor has joined the global outcry calling for an end to the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.

"Given the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Gaza, the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and the ten Leaders of Greater Manchester join the growing international calls for a ceasefire by all sides and for the hostages to be released unharmed."

Deputy Mayor Kate Green and the ten leaders of Greater Manchester are also mentioned to support the ceasefire.

David Lammy

The shadow foreign secretary has previously said the “fighting must stop”.

Appearing on the BBC One’s Sunday show with Laura Kuenssberg on February 18, he said: “We all want to see an end to the fighting.

“Over 28,000 people have lost their lives, women and children. One of my children is adopted – [there are] 17,000 orphans now in Gaza. It’s just abominable. So of course people want to see a ceasefire.

“The question now is how, and to be absolutely clear that when that ceasefire comes, we can’t see the fighting restart.”

Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn participated in the national march for Palestine on Saturday, February 17, demanding a ceasefire in Gaza.

Jess Phillips

The former shadow domestic abuse and safeguarding minister for Labour, Jess Phillips said:

“On this occasion, I must vote with my constituents, my head and my heart,” Phillips said in a letter to Starmer posted on X.

“I can see no route where the current military action does anything but put at risk the hope of peace and security for anyone in the region now and in the future.”