Two Sheffield MPs joined a major Commons rebellion against their leader Sir Keir Starmer to vote for a motion calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield and Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts joined the 56 Labour MPs who defied their leadership to vote for an SNP party amendment to the King’s Speech yesterday (15 November) that called for an immediate ceasefire.
SNP amendment to the King’s Speech calling for immediate ceasefire in Gaza
Rotherham’s Labour MP Sarah Champion also voted for the amendment. Shadow transport minister Louise Haigh (Sheffield Heeley) and Brightside and Hillsborough MP Gill Furniss obeyed Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s order to party MPs to abstain on the vote.
As reported yesterday, Sheffield Hallam MP Oliva Blake said that she would definitely have voted for a ceasefire but she is in Sheffield this week undergoing NHS treatment. Conservative MP for Stocksbridge and Penistone, Miriam Cates, voted with the government.
The SNP motion was lost – 125 voted for it and 293 MPs opposed it. In total, ten frontbench Labour MPs lost their posts by joining the rebellion.
All Labour MPs supported a Labour motion on the issue put forward by their leader, calling for longer ‘humanitarian pauses’ in the fighting to allow aid through.
Casualties in Gaza continue to rise
The casualties of Israel’s continuing bombardment of Gaza and ground offensive are now said to have topped 11,000 by Gaza’s health ministry. The number killed in the Hamas attacks on 7 October has now been revised down by Israeli officials from 1,400 to 1,200.
Israeli troops yesterday continued their ground offensive in Gaza, demolishing the parliament building and targeting the Al-Shifa hospital, saying a network of tunnels used by Hamas lies underneath it. A BBC reporter taken into the hospital by Israeli forces was shown small stashes of weapons, pamphlets and laptops but no tunnels.
The conflict has seen a series of sizeable protests held in Sheffield, including one on 1 November when city council Labour, Green and LibDem members added their voices to calls for an immediate ceasefire, the release of all hostages by Hamas and for humanitarian aid to be allowed into Gaza.
Sheffielders also travelled down to London on Saturday to join the huge London pro-Palestine demonstration. Speakers at a Sheffield rally on Saturday included Musheir El-Farra and his son Qasem Fara, from Heeley, who have just returned from Gaza. They were trapped when the conflict broke out during a visit to see family.