EFFORTS to force a vote on whether to call for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas are expected to intensify this week as the Westminster Parliament returns for the King’s Speech.

Left-wing Labour MPs are understood to be discussing methods of doing so with the SNP.

The National understands the SNP are due an opposition day debate next week – though this could be delayed.

If an opposition day debate is secured, it would mean forcing a vote on the issue, which could pose a challenge for Keir Starmer by showing the strength of feeling on the conflict within his party.

The Labour leader is at odds with roughly a third of his MPs who have publicly come out in favour of a ceasefire, whereas he has rejected the idea while Hamas still holds Israelis hostage.

MPs who want a vote on a ceasefire have a number of options for doing so but as yet it is uncertain amongst Westminster politicians how best to pursue one.

It is thought the first port of call would be to rely on the SNP’s expected opposition day debate.

As Labour MPs in favour of a ceasefire are at odds with the party leadership, they must rely on working with the SNP to have their say in a vote.

Opposition day debates give non-Government parties the chance to set the topics of debate.

Votes taken on opposition motions are usually non-binding – meaning the UK Government does not need to respond to or abide by their results.

READ MORE: David Lammy slammed for 'reprehensible' comments on Gaza refugee camp bombing

However it is not guaranteed the SNP will have an opposition day debate next week and MPs may have to seek another way of forcing a vote.

Their other option would be to force a vote through an amendment to the House of Commons’ response to the King’s Speech.

The official opposition usually gets a day for its amendment to be debated and up to three further amendments can be selected for debate and a vote by the Speaker.

This means a vote could be possible, though it would not be certain, unlike the opposition day route.

Another route said to be under consideration is an emergency debate, which brings yet more hoops through which MPs must jump.

The National: Sir Lindsay Hoyle

An MP wishing to start an emergency debate must apply to the Speaker (above) for permission to make a short speech requesting a debate. MPs then decide if that goes ahead. If it does, it will usually take place the next sitting day.

It also must satisfy three tests to prove that the matter to be debated is:

  • Urgent – requiring an answer from the UK Government with no other option for it to be brought before the House in time by other means

  • Important – meaning the matter must be of evident national importance

  • Specific – meaning the matter must be closely defined and not an opportunity to cover a large number of other concerns

A Labour source told The National efforts to force a vote on calls for a ceasefire had “grown legs” and those hoping to keep the pressure on the UK Government on the issue were hoping the return of MPs after prorogation would facilitate conversations across party lines as to how to go about this.

An SNP MP confirmed they and colleagues had been in conversation with Labour MPs about ways to force a vote on a ceasefire.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf blasts Keir Starmer's 'lack of moral courage' after Gaza speech

It comes at a time of increasingly fraught tensions within Labour over the war between Israel and Hamas.

Many in Labour were furious with Starmer after he said Israel had the right to cut off supplies of water and electricity to Gaza in response to Hamas attacks.

The clip of the interview went viral and the Labour leader has attempted to backtrack on his comments, claiming he had been answering another question.

But many within his party view him as ignoring what they argue are war crimes committed by Israel and he faced calls last week from two Labour council leaders to step down.

One of them, Afrasiab Anwar, who is the leader of Burnley Council in Lancashire, quit Labour on Monday saying his membership was “untenable”.

He accused Starmer of showing he “does not value the voice of the grassroots of the party”.

Another 10 councillors stepped down and the party also recently lost its majority in Oxford City Council after councillors resigned over the issue.

Others are concerned the party may lose the Muslim vote in England, a major part of its constituency in urban areas south of the Border.

Starmer has also found himself at odds with other senior Labour figures, including Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham who have called for a ceasefire.