FOREIGN Secretary David Cameron not being able to answer questions from MPs is “feeling like a game of Where’s Wally?” the Commons was told during an urgent question on Gaza.

Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy criticised the peer’s absence from the House of Commons while MPs put questions to the UK Government on the pause of violence in the Middle East. The temporary ceasefire is due to expire after Monday.

Labour MP Lammy told the chamber that he wanted to see both Israel and Gaza extend the “cessation of hostilities” but not call for a full ceasefire.

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Addressing the absence of Cameron, Lammy said: “Holding the Government to account is a sacred duty of this House, but with the Lord Chipping Norton, as you know, not here, this is feeling more like a game of Where's Wally?”

The shadow foreign secretary asked “what progress” was being made to allow MPs to question Cameron. Andrew Mitchell, Tory MP and minister for development and Africa in the Foreign Office, was answering questions put by MPs on the conflict.

Mitchell responded by pointing to Cameron’s visit to the Middle East and the “extraordinary authority that a former prime minister carrying out these tasks can bring to bear”.

“He is the most senior foreign minister in Europe and indeed the region, and I think the House on all sides will see the benefit of that in the days and months to come,” Mitchell added.

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Earlier, Lammy said: “We must now urgently support the parties to reach an agreement to extend the cessation of hostilities, to secure the release of remaining hostages, to deliver more aid to ease the unacceptable humanitarian catastrophe, and crucially to provide a stepping stone to an enduring cessation of hostilities, and ensuring that what follows the war is a durable political solution.

“But the danger is the fighting resumes in mere hours. If the vital efforts to extend this cessation of hostilities fail, does [Mitchell] agree that we cannot return to the situation before this pause?

“We cannot go back to Hamas continuing rocket attacks on Israel, and we cannot go back to unacceptable siege conditions in Gaza, and we cannot go back to the scenes of thousands of innocent Palestinians being killed.”

Mitchell responded: “The British Government is supportive of the current pause in hostilities continuing, but that is for the Israelis and others in the region to agree.

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“But we are clear that this pause should not be a one-off. The increased flow of fuel and relief supplies over the Rafah crossing accompanying the pause was welcome and must be sustained.”

He also said that the opposition frontbench and Government are in “complete agreement” over calls to extend the “cessation of hostilities and what he said about the broader situation”.

SNP foreign affairs spokesperson Peter Grant asked if Mitchell agreed that the only way to achieve peace in the region is the establishment of a two-state solution “in which Israel and Palestine are recognised as equal sovereign states with equal rights and equal responsibilities to uphold international law”.

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Adding that there are now “credible” accusations of war crimes towards both sides involved in the conflict, he asked if the UK Government would support any investigations by the International Criminal Court (ICC) “regardless of who is accused of them” and if ministers had assessed the “legality” of the UK's arms sales to the Middle East.

Mitchell replied that it is not for Government ministers or politicians to address “these matters”, but ICC officials.

“He will know that the British Government has the toughest arms export regime in the world and we adhere absolutely to that," he added. 

We told how there were calls for urgent reform of the House of Lords after Cameron's appointment to the Foreign Office.