SNP to reach out to other parties on ceasefire as MPs reveal safety concerns

It comes as Labour’s shadow international development minister Lisa Nandy revealed she carried a police alarm “everywhere”.

The SNP’s Westminster leader has pledged to will seek support from opposition parties in order to secure an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Stephen Flynn has written to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey calling on them to support a fresh motion, after last week’s opposition day descended into chaos with SNP MPs demanding the Speaker resign.

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It comes as shadow international development minister Lisa Nandy revealed the scale of concerns about MPs safety, saying “many” colleagues had raised the issue with the Speaker in the past month.

SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn has written to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey calling on them to support a fresh ceasefire motion.SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn has written to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey calling on them to support a fresh ceasefire motion.
SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn has written to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey calling on them to support a fresh ceasefire motion.

Last week, Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle publicly apologised to the SNP, and offered the party an opportunity to hold a fresh vote, following chaotic scenes which saw MPs blocked from voting on the SNP’s motion for an immediate ceasefire due to an unprecedented change in the rules of Parliament following a meeting between the Speaker and Sir Keir.

The SNP is, among other actions, proposing the UK Parliament mandates the UK government to use its position on the UN Security Council to vote for an immediate ceasefire, and follow the advice of independent UN experts to halt all transfers of military equipment and technology, including components, to Israel, and to suspend the issuing of new licences.

Mr Flynn said: “After the shameful scenes at Westminster last week, it’s vital the UK Parliament urgently focuses on what really matters, doing everything we can to help secure an immediate ceasefire and lasting peace in Gaza and Israel.

“The SNP wants to move the debate forward with a fresh motion that focuses on the specific, practical, concrete steps the UK government must now take to help make an immediate ceasefire happen.

“As a key ally and defence trading partner of Israel, and a member of the UN Security Council, the UK has an important role to play but the UK government, which still opposes even calling for an immediate ceasefire, is not doing anywhere near enough to secure one.”

The party claim their actions “forced” Sir Keir Starmer to U-turn on his opposition to calling for an immediate ceasefire and said MPs must “work together” to get Rishi Sunak to do the same.

Mr Flynn added: “We are keen to build as much consensus as possible, while recognising the need to substantially shift the dial on the positions of Sunak and Starmer, who have been too timid in their approach to securing an immediate ceasefire – and not forgetting the success the SNP has had in changing the terms of the debate by doggedly sticking by our principles and values.

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“The devastation in Gaza gets worse every day, with more innocent children, women and men killed, more homes bombed, and more civilians facing starvation.

“The time for warm words is over, the UK must use every lever at its disposal to help end this conflict and secure lasting peace.”

It follows more than half of the SNP’s Westminster contingent signing a motion of no confidence in the Speaker, along with 40 Conservatives and one Independent, former Tory Rob Roberts. This means more than 10 per cent of the Commons has backed the call for Sir Lindsay to step down, but the momentum now seems to have subsided.

After a backlash over the Speaker’s decision to break convention and select Labour’s amendment last week, he explained it was due to concerns over security, and wanting to give the Commons a chance to hear all views.

Sir Lindsay apologised for his “mistake” and offered an emergency debate on the Scottish Nationalists’ motion calling for a ceasefire, in a bid to calm the party’s fury over their proposal being sidelined.

Now Labour’s shadow international development minister Ms Nandy has suggested “many MPs” will have been in touch with the Speaker to express “concerns about their safety” in recent weeks.

The Labour MP told Sky News’s Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips that MPs were receiving threats “on multiple issues in multiple directions”.

Ms Nandy said: “I think there’ll be many, many MPs who will have been in contact with the Speaker over the course of the last few months, and particularly in the last couple of weeks, as tensions were heightened – expressing concerns about their safety.”

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The Wigan MP added: “We’ve had incidents over the last few months where people, including me, have been accosted on the streets and surrounded and filmed.

“Over the 14 years that I’ve been in Parliament, I’ve watched this get worse and worse.”

Ms Nandy said she was “absolutely certain” no-one in Labour threatened to withdraw support from Sir Lindsay over Wednesday’s motion on a ceasefire in Gaza.

“None of the senior figures in Labour would ever dream of threatening the Speaker,” Ms Nandy said.

Asked whether anyone from the party had pressurised the speaker with his job unless he did what Labour wanted, Ms Nandy said: “Frankly, the idea that you would threaten the Speaker of the House of Commons is for the birds. I’ve served under three different speakers over 14 years and I can tell you that that is not how it works.

“The speaker is in charge, is the guardian of our processes and procedures, and makes the decisions. The idea that any political leader or any politician of any party could threaten the House of Commons Speaker and get away with it is just absolute and utter nonsense.”

There does not appear to be a formal mechanism for removing a speaker, with previous holders of the office only being replaced on their resignation or death.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Sir Lindsay’s choice over the Gaza debate was “concerning”, but suggested he was willing to draw a line under the episode by pointing to the Speaker’s apology.

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Speaking about Sir Lindsay, Ms Nandy said: “He’s our Speaker and he’s trusted by MPs across the house to uphold what is the right thing to do for members of parliament of all parties and for the country. That’s why you’ve seen so many Tory MPs and others rallying to his defence this week.

“What the Speaker was seeking to do was to put the widest range of options before the House and ensure that the House could come to one view.”

Meanwhile, the Sunday Times reported that three female politicians, including representatives of the Conservative and Labour parties, have been given taxpayer-funded bodyguards and cars.

The newspaper reported that the three MPs, who have not been named, had their security upgraded after a risk assessment was carried out with support from the Ravec committee, which is responsible for the security of the royal family and senior politicians.



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