MOMENTUM is building behind calls for the UK Government to demand an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. 

Richard Burgon, who previously served in Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, has written an early day motion calling for a reprieve in a bid to prevent further civilian deaths in the region.

It has so far garnered 81 supporters among MPs from the left wing of the Labour Party, the SNP, Alba and the pro-Palestine Tory MP Crispin Blunt.

Speaking to The National, Burgon (below) said it was “shameful” the UK Government was failing to call for a ceasefire and pointed to the “huge public backing” for a peaceful end to hostilities.

The National: Richard Burgon

He said: “More and more governments are backing the UN General Secretary's call for a ceasefire. It is shameful that our government is refusing to do so.

“The British Government should stop ignoring the huge public backing for a ceasefire and the growing support inside Parliament for one.

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“Instead, it should be using its diplomatic weight to push for a negotiated ceasefire that is binding on all sides.

“That would stop the loss of any more civilian lives, help with securing the safe release of the hostages, and allow the huge amount of aid to get into Gaza that's urgently needed to address the humanitarian catastrophe there.”

MPs rarely debate early day motions but some use them to continue political debate and promote certain causes, according to the House of Commons Library.

Burgon’s motion condemns the “the massacre of Israeli civilians and taking of hostages by Hamas” but adds that “these horrific acts do not justify responding with the collective punishment of the Palestinian people”.

It goes on to call for Hamas to release without condition the 220 Israelis who are thought to have been taken hostage in Gaza and for the Israeli government to end its “military bombardment and total siege” of the strip.

The motion calls on the UK Government to “use its influence to help protect civilians, to ensure adherence to international humanitarian law and to guarantee civilians have access to critical life-saving humanitarian support”.

The Prime Minister appeared to rule out calling for an immediate ceasefire during a statement to the Commons on Monday.

He said: “It is difficult to tell Israel to have a ceasefire when it is still facing rocket fire on an almost daily basis, and when its citizens are still being held hostage and it has suffered an appalling terrorist attack where it has a right to defend itself."

The SNP are calling for a break in hostilities and also called for the Government to set up a refugee scheme, modelled on those set up by victims of conflicts in Afghanistan, Ukraine and Syria.