Gaza ceasefire: Labour's Ian Murray says SNP should be angry at UK Government over ceasefire vote, not Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle

The SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn has called for Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle to go

Shadow Scotland secretary Ian Murray has told the SNP its anger should be directed at the UK government over the Gaza ceasefire vote, rather than the Speaker or the Labour party.

The SNP has called for a vote of no confidence in Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, amid accusations he helped Sir Keir Starmer avoid another damaging revolt over the Middle East issue by selecting Labour’s amendment.

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More than 70 MPs have now signed the motion against Sir Lindsay proposed by senior Tory William Wragg.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle was defended by Labour's Shadow Scotland Secretary, Ian Murray.Sir Lindsay Hoyle was defended by Labour's Shadow Scotland Secretary, Ian Murray.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle was defended by Labour's Shadow Scotland Secretary, Ian Murray.

However, home secretary James Cleverly has given his personal backing to the Speaker, saying: “I think he’s been a breath of fresh air compared with his predecessor.

“He made a mistake. He’s apologised for the mistake. My view is that I’m supportive of him.”

The Speaker’s decision upended parliamentary convention, and disregarded warnings from the House of Commons Clerk over the unprecedented nature of the move, which provoked uproar in the chamber amid voting on Wednesday night.

Mr Murray claimed the SNP’s anger was misplaced, saying it was the government pulling its own amendment that created the problem, not Labour or the Speaker.

The senior Labour figure told The Scotsman: “Parliament hasn’t covered itself in glory with the chaos, but we can’t lose sight of the subject matter and international crisis.

“Despite all the odds and a 55-seat Tory majority, Parliament passed Labour’s motion that contains, amongst other important things, support for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

“That should be the story, not concocted anger and rage. And any rage should be diverted to the government for creating the chaos, because they knew the Labour motion was going to pass so they withdrew theirs, therefore stitching up the SNP.

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“The SNP’s only goal on Wednesday was proposing a motion that they knew would fail, rather than propose a motion that could pass. It’s also strange to criticise Mr Speaker when it’s the same process the SNP Scottish Government uses in the Scottish Parliament.”

The Edinburgh South MP defended Sir Lindsay over allowing the Labour amendment, saying the move broadened debate, and issues only arose when the Tories pulled their own vote.

He said: “It’s just a convention, and it has been broken twice before, in 1999, and the first line of his advice from the Clerk to the House was there was no standing order to prevent the Speaker from choosing the Labour amendment to broaden the debate.

“The Speaker then said ‘OK, I'm going to allow this to broaden the debate’. It would have been the Labour amendment, yes or no, and that would fall because the government would vote it down, then the SNP motion, and that would fall, then the Conservative motion that would pass. All amendments would have fallen because that’s supposed to happen.

“What has happened is, the government were worried they were going to lose the vote, so pulled out. Tory MP after Tory MP said during the six-hour debate that they’d support the Labour amendment.

“What that meant procedurally was the system the Speaker had set up collapsed, because the Tories withdrew their motion. That meant the Labour amendment was passed first, and the SNP motion went through on the nod as amended. This entire chaos wasn’t caused by Mr Speaker, it was caused by the government. What the government thought they were doing with the SNP was setting an elephant trap for the Labour party, but at 6pm Wednesday evening, they pushed the SNP into their own trap.”

Mr Murray suggested the vote should be a good thing, but the progress was being ignored by a spat over procedure.

He said: “We got an immediate humanitarian ceasefire passed, and we should be glad of that. That should be the story. It was a success, getting Parliament to speak with one voice, in inverted commas.

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“It’s not a cause of celebration, because we’ve lost focus on what this is all about. The most shocked people in the room were the Labour benches. But Stephen Flynn had decided this is going to be about Labour and the Speaker, but he backed our amendment, so surely he should also be content that the motion passed. I can’t understand why he would be upset that it passed.”

More than a tenth of the Commons have signed Mr Wragg’s motion expressing no confidence in Sir Lindsay after Wednesday’s SNP Opposition Day vote descended into chaos.

The Speaker has apologised for his “mistake” and offered an emergency debate on the Scottish Nationalists’ motion calling for a ceasefire in a bid to calm their fury over their proposal being sidelined.

Sir Lindsay claimed his decision came amid fears over MPs’ safety, saying he’d had frequent meetings with members worried about themselves and their families. The Scotsman understands that multiple MPs now need security for events as well as police protection in their own constituencies.

SNP foreign affairs spokesperson Brendan O'Hara said: "The SNP has consistently called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and Israel – and the UK Parliament has only been able to vote for one because we tabled the SNP ceasefire motion.

"While the Westminster circus has been shameful, we have made important progress this week, including forcing Keir Starmer to U-turn on his opposition to an immediate ceasefire.

"What matters now is that everyone focuses on what really matters – helping the people of Gaza, freeing the hostages, and ensuring the UK government uses every lever to help secure a ceasefire and lasting peace.

"The SNP will do everything we can to make that happen, and we are already in discussions about the next steps to secure progress."



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