A LABOUR MP representing Liverpool has apologised after describing Israel's government as "fascist" during PMQs.

Kim Johnson, the MP for Liverpool Riverside, said in the Commons early on Wednesday afternoon: “Since the election of the fascist Israeli government in December last year, there has been an increase in human rights violations against Palestinian civilians, including children.”

Her comment provoked heckling across the House, as she added: “Can the Prime Minister tell us how he is challenging what Amnesty and other human rights organisations are referring to as an apartheid state?”

The National:  MP Beth Winter (centre right) and MP for Liverpool Riverside, Kim Johnson (centre left), join union members of the on the picket line MP Beth Winter (centre right) and MP for Liverpool Riverside, Kim Johnson (centre left), join union members of the on the picket line (Image: PA)

Rishi Sunak replied: “She also failed to mention the horrific attacks on civilians inside Israel as well.

“It is important in this matter to remain calm and urge all sides to strive for peace, and that is very much what I will do as Prime Minister and in the conversations that I have had with the Israeli prime minister.”

Johnson later stood in the Commons to read out an apology for the comments, saying her description of Israel as fascist and an apartheid state was "wrong". 

After the exchange, a spokesperson said Johnson's remarks were "unacceptable" and called for her to withdraw them. 

He told reporters: “As a first step we would obviously want her to withdraw the remarks that she used for sure”.

Asked whether Sunak should have condemned  Johnson’s language, the spokesman said: “That’s a question for the Prime Minister. All I would say is that if Keir Starmer had been answering that question he would’ve made clear that he regards that language as unacceptable.”

Last week, nine Palestinians were killed during an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank – the deadliest single raid in two decades.

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Tensions have soared following the raid which killed at least 10 people including a 61-year-old woman.

A Palestinian shooting attack in an east Jerusalem Jewish settlement also killed seven Israelis.

Tensions spiked during January – the first weeks of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new far-right government. 

He has promised to take a tough stance against Palestinians and ramp up settlement construction.

The language row came as a number of Labour MPs joined picket lines to support striking workers, despite party leader Keir Starmer previously saying no MP should be on a picket line “if they want to be in government”.

The official Conservative Party press office account shared tweets from 13 Labour MPs such as Richard Burgon, Ian Lavery and Kate Osborne joining picket lines during Wednesday’s strikes.

The thread was prompted by the quote from Starmer in an interview with Sky News in August last year.

Left-winger Sam Tarry, the former frontbencher who represents Islington South, was previously sacked as a shadow transport minister after giving interviews from a picket line in July last year.