THE SNP’s Westminster leader has challenged Rishi Sunak on helping to deliver a ceasefire in Gaza, warning that “abstentionism is not leadership”.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Stephen Flynn said the UK Government had abstained on three occasions at the United Nations when it could have backed a ceasefire vote.

He highlighted comments made by US President Joe Biden, who has said he hopes a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel could take effect by early next week.

Flynn said: “30,000 people dead, 70,000 injured, 1.5million sheltering in Rafah, 300,000 living in what is considered to be feral conditions in Northern Gaza and of course 100 hostages still tragically held by Hamas.

READ MORE: Furious SNP hit back as Speaker denies emergency Gaza ceasefire debate

“It is the horror of those numbers that demands that this House have its say, just as it is the horror of those numbers has showed that this House should demand an immediate ceasefire now.

“President Biden has indicated that ceasefire may take place on Monday, does the Prime Minister share his confidence?”

Sunak replied that the UK Government had “consistently called for an immediate humanitarian pause” to allow the safe release of hostages and more aid to reach Gaza.

He said: “We welcome progress on a deal as the Honourable Gentleman says, there has been progress and we urge everyone on all sides to seize the opportunity.

“And I have been clear we must seize the momentum from this terrible tragedy to find a lasting resolution to this conflict which delivers on the promise of the two-state solution and ensures the Israelis and Palestinians can live in dignity and security.”

But Flynn said that during the five months since the conflict began, the House of Commons had “equivocated” on the issue.

He went on: “This government on three occasions at the United Nations has abstained when it could have voted for a ceasefire.

READ MORE: SNP MP says Gaza ceasefire needed with aid delivery ‘impossible’

“Abstentionism is not leadership so can I ask the Prime Minister should this matter now come before the United Nations with ceasefire potentially in sight, will he use his government’s vote in order to deliver that ceasefire?”

Sunak said: “We support the United States draft resolution that was discussed with colleagues at the United Nations last week, but just calling for an immediate ceasefire now which collapses back into fighting within days or weeks, and indeed does not release hostages, including British hostages, is not in anyone’s interest.

“We must work towards a permanent ceasefire and that starts with an immediate humanitarian pause to get aid in and hostages out.”

The PM added: “I agree with the Honourable Gentleman about the suffering of the people in Gaza and in this country we should be proud of everything we are doing to help them and provide them the life-saving aid that they deserve.”