KEIR Starmer has insisted Labour is united on the Israel-Hamas war – despite a massive rebellion from his MPs on the issue and a wave of resignations from his team.

The Labour leader claimed there was “absolute unity” on the issue after 56 MPs defied him to vote with the SNP for a ceasefire, with 10 members of his frontbench resigning as a result.

It is thought to be the biggest challenge to his leadership since replacing Jeremy Corbyn in 2020.

Speaking during a visit to Scotland on Thursday, Starmer told ITV News: “I think there is absolute unity about what we’re trying to achieve.

“This is not like some of the disagreements you see in politics. This is about many, many people, not actually just in politics, many people watching this who are watching their screens saying ‘what could we do to alleviate what is an awful situation?’

“Those hostages are still being held. There’s a terrible humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

“We have to make, working with our allies to make a material difference to that. So in terms of what people are trying to achieve, there is unity about what we’re trying to achieve.”

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The most high profile MP to quit from the frontbench to vote for a ceasefire was Jess Phillips.

Asked whether he regretted her departure, Starmer said: “Of course, I want us to move forward as united as we can as a party, but you wouldn’t expect me to stand here today and say my concern is the Labour Party management rather than the hostages and the innocent civilians and children that are dying in Gaza.

“My focus and attention is there, and that’s where it is where it will always be.”

It comes after his shadow overseas development minister Lisa Nandy questioned the extent to which international law applied in Gaza when asked about the ferocity of Israel’s response to Hamas’s attacks on October 7.

Speaking at an event in Westminster on Thursday, Nandy said: “We’ve been really clear, as a front bench, that regardless of questions of international law – and international law is, it was built for a different era between two state parties, there are questions about you know, how far and when it applies in situations like these.

“But civilians have to be protected, that is absolutely clear.”