KEIR Starmer is ordering his MPs to abstain on the SNP's Gaza ceasefire motion because it accuses Israel of engaging in the "collective punishment" of the Palestinian people, it has been reported.

On Tuesday Starmer's party tabled an amendment to the SNP's motion which called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. The amendment was very similar to the motion, but removed the reference to "collective punishment".

It is understood that people close to Starmer were uneasy about the use of language. 

READ MORE: BBC Radio 5 Live: David Lammy defends Labour delay in ceasefire call

While the SNP welcomed Labour moving towards supporting an immediate ceasefire, First Minister Humza Yousaf said it was "frustrating" that they would be vetoing that phrase.

Now, journalist Robert Peston has reported that Starmer will issue a three-line whip ordering his MPs to abstain on the original motion.

That means anyone on his frontbench who supports the SNP motion could face being sacked. 

Many MPs are expected to rebel against the party's orders.

After the last ceasefire vote in the Commons, which Starmer's MPs were also instructed to vote down, 56 Labour MPs rebelled.  A number of frontbench figures also lost their positions.

READ MORE: Pro-ceasefire activists react to Labour U-turn on Palestine

SNP leader Stephen Flynn commented on the reports while appearing on Sky News on Tuesday evening. He said: "So of course, it has been suggested to me this evening that the Labour amendment will not be taken tomorrow and we may well end up in a situation where it is just ourselves [SNP] or the Conservatives. 

"The Labour Party have came out today and said that they back an immediate ceasefire as in line with our position - where they appear to have difficulties in relation to the term 'collective punishment'. I firmly believe that stopping people from having access to food, to water, to electricity, to medicines, of being able to leave an area is collective punishment of the Palestinian people for the abhorrent action of Hamas.

"Now, it'll be for the Labour Party to explain why they don't believe that that is collective punishment and why they don't therefore want to vote for an immediate ceasefire. Some of the technicalities will be played out tomorrow - but it will be for Keir Starmer to explain his position because I think it would untenable for him to say he backs a ceasefire and not vote for one."