STEPHEN Flynn has branded calls for a “sustainable ceasefire” from the Conservatives and Labour a “word scramble” as he urged UK leaders to back the demand for an immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.

The UK Government’s subtle shift in its position on the conflict was indicated on Sunday when Foreign Secretary David Cameron said he wanted to see “a ceasefire, but only if it is sustainable”, in a piece for the Sunday Times.

His calls were backed by Labour leader Keir Starmer who said: “We need to get to a sustainable ceasefire as quickly as possible.”

Rishi Sunak (below) has also used the phrase, referring to it during PMQs last week – noting that “means Hamas must stop launching rockets into Israel and release all the hostages”.

The National: Rishi Sunak

The UK Government had previously been pressing for “humanitarian pauses” in the conflict as a means of getting aid into Gaza.

Flynn criticised UK politicians for spending time deciding on “what language is best to use”.

He said: “This latest word scramble from the Tories, followed closely by the Labour leadership, will fool nobody - we need an ‘immediate ceasefire’ because only that course of action will save civilian lives.

READ MORE: Several killed and wounded after Israeli air strike hits Gaza’s largest hospital

“Everyday that the UK pontificates on what language is best to use to avoid calling for an ‘immediate ceasefire’ is another day where the Palestinian people are collectively punished for the actions of a terrorist group.

“How many more people have to die before the two main UK political parties get in line with global opinion and back an immediate ceasefire?”

It comes amid a ferocious bombardment of Gaza with reports Israel bombed the strip’s biggest hospital.

Al Jazeera television aired footage appearing to show the aftermath of the strike on Shifa Hospital, in Gaza City, with several people sprawled lifeless on the ground inside the medical compound, which includes several buildings.

What is a ‘sustainable ceasefire’?

The wording is carefully chosen to distinguish from an "immediate ceasefire".

In the UK Government’s formulation, it appears to rely on Hamas ending its attacks on Israel and releasing the more than 200 hostages still held captive.

Proponents of this approach say it will mean a lasting peace in the region. But critics say that negotiations on issues like the release of hostages held by Hamas or Palestinians imprisoned in Israel must take place against the backdrop of a ceasefire – pointing to the huge loss of life in Palestine and unbearable conditions in under-siege Gaza.