TORY MPs have piled pressure on Rishi Sunak to call for an immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war amid mounting anxiety about the rising death toll of the conflict.

In a letter to Foreign Secretary David Cameron, the group of 11 Conservative MPs said the UK must now back an immediate ceasefire, after Britain’s ambassador to the UN last week abstained on a vote calling for an end to fighting.

The Government’s position has subtly shifted on the conflict, with Lord Cameron now calling for a “sustainable ceasefire” instead of “humanitarian pauses”, the Daily Mail reports.

Former Cabinet minister Kit Malthouse and nine colleagues wrote to the Foreign Secretary in protest at the Government’s stance, in a sign attitudes towards the conflict are changing in response to Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.

Its assault on the strip has so far seen 20,000 Palestinians killed, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

READ MORE: Israel faces new ceasefire calls after hostage killings raise alarm over conduct

Israel has said 118 soldiers have been killed in its ground invasion of Gaza, as well as the 1200 Israelis killed by Hamas in its attack on the state on October 7.

US President Joe Biden previously warned Israel was risking losing international support because of its bombardment of Gaza – and prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under increasing internal pressure after it was revealed the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) mistakenly killed three hostages held by Hamas.

The National: Cabinet Meeting

The group of Conservative MPs also includes former Cabinet ministers David Jones and George Eustice (above), said they had “privately expressed our anguish and dismay” about the Government’s approach.

“We said we did not believe it was in the United Kingdom’s or Israel’s best long-term interests for them to flatten Gaza and massacre innocent Palestinians in pursuit of Hamas,” they added.

Israel’s actions are “neither proportionate nor targeted”, they argued, warning that the “brutalisation of the civilian Palestinian population is sure to lead to more extremism in the future”.

Eustice and Jones voted against the SNP's motion in the Commons last month calling for a ceasefire, while Malthouse abstained.  

'Morally indefensible'

And senior members of the military establishment, including a former chief of the British Armed Forces and a former Ministry of Defence director have warned Sunak that Britain’s continued rejection of an immediate ceasefire is “strategically ill-advised and morally indefensible”.

The letter, signed by David Richards and John Deverell among others, said Britain and America’s UN abstention opened both countries up to the “risk of becoming complicit in breaches of international law in Gaza”.

It added: “We implore the United Kingdom to once again work with all other members of the UN Security Council to ensure a renewed resolution for an immediate ceasefire is brought forward, and then to vote in favour of it.

“Ultimately, the first step to securing a sustainable ceasefire is to stop the fighting now, sparing the lives of civilians on both sides.”

Speaking on Monday, the Prime Minister stressed that Israel must abide by “humanitarian law”, adding: “It’s clear that too many civilian lives have been lost and nobody wants to see this conflict go on a day longer than it has to.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer has also called for a “sustainable ceasefire” which the UK Government has previously indicated would rely on Hamas releasing the remaining Israeli hostages it is holding captive.

Stephen Flynn, the SNP’s Westminster leader has criticised their stances, calling the new calls a “word scramble” as he urged UK politicians to back an immediate ceasefire.