Thu. Apr 18th, 2024
alert-–-snp-demands-under-fire-speaker-lindsay-hoyle-grants-binding-vote-on-gaza-ceasefire-–-with-71-mps-still-calling-for-him-to-quitAlert – SNP demands under-fire Speaker Lindsay Hoyle grants binding vote on Gaza ceasefire – with 71 MPs still calling for him to quit

The SNP are demanding a binding vote on a Gaza ceasefire in the House of Commons after the shambles of last week’s attempt by MPs to debate the issue.

Stephen Flynn, the party’s Westminster leader, is pushing for under-fire Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle to grant a fresh vote on the Middle East crisis.

But the move could trigger a new row over pushing aside parliamentary convention – as Sir Lindsay did last week to prompt the chaotic scenes in the Commons.

The fall-out from Wednesday night’s mayhem has so far seen 71 MPs call for the Speaker to quit by signing a motion of no confidence in him.

Sir Lindsay publicly apologised for his role in the meltdown but is braced for a second week of speculation as to whether he can continue in his role.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the House of Commons Speaker, apologised for his role in last week's parliamentary meltdown

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the House of Commons Speaker, apologised for his role in last week’s parliamentary meltdown

Stephen Flynn, the SNP's Westminster leader, is pushing for Sir Lindsay to grant a fresh vote on a Gaza ceasefire

Stephen Flynn, the SNP’s Westminster leader, is pushing for Sir Lindsay to grant a fresh vote on a Gaza ceasefire

But the move could trigger a new row over pushing aside parliamentary convention - as Sir Lindsay did last week to prompt the chaotic scenes in the Commons

But the move could trigger a new row over pushing aside parliamentary convention – as Sir Lindsay did last week to prompt the chaotic scenes in the Commons

The fall-out from Wednesday night's mayhem has so far seen 71 MPs call for the Speaker to quit by signing a motion of no confidence in him

The fall-out from Wednesday night’s mayhem has so far seen 71 MPs call for the Speaker to quit by signing a motion of no confidence in him

Last week’s furious row saw the SNP fail to get a vote on their Opposition Day motion calling for an ‘immediate ceasefire’ in Gaza after Sir Lindsay broke with precedent.

The Speaker selected both a Labour amendment and a Government amendment amid claims of a ‘stitch-up’ to help Sir Keir Starmer avoid another revolt on the issue.

The Labour leader had previously seen 56 of his MPs defy him and support calls for an immediate ceasefire when the Commons last voted on the issue in November.

Sir Keir has since denied threatening Sir Lindsay to select Labour’s amendment, which backed an ‘immediate humanitarian ceasefire’ along with caveats over the release of Israeli hostages by Hamas.

He said he ‘simply urged’ the Speaker to have the ‘broadest possible debate’.

Sir Lindsay himself said fears over MPs’ safety played a part in his decision, which has led to angry Tory claims he ‘bowed to the mob’ amid continuing pro-Palestinian protests across the country.

The SNP are now demanding an ’emergency debate’ in the Commons so they can stage a re-run of the botched ceasefire vote.

These can be granted under a Standing Order 24 procedure, but the terms of them are usually neutral and merely ‘take note’ of an issue.

By wanting a motion that takes a stance on a Gaza ceasefire, the SNP are set to force Sir Lindsay to choose whether he upends parliamentary convention again.

There is precedent for doing so after John Bercow, the former Speaker, controversially allowed an emergency debate to be held on a ‘substantive motion’ in 2019.

This allowed opponents of a no-deal Brexit to take control of Commons business.

Yet, Sir Lindsay will be wary of further infuriating Tory critics behind a ‘Just Stop Hoyle’ campaign to oust him.

The SNP motion for an emergency debate could include a call for a freeze on arms sales to Israel, and for Britain to use its position on the UN Security Council to back a ceasefire rather than abstaining on votes.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak does not back an immediate ceasefire in Gaza but supports an ‘immediate humanitarian pause’ as the best way to stop the fighting.

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.’

He 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.

‘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.’