UK parliament descends into chaos over Gaza ceasefire vote

UK parliament descends into chaos over Gaza ceasefire vote
# 22 February 2024 05:23 (UTC +04:00)

Dozens of lawmakers stormed out of Britain's parliament on Wednesday with tempers flaring as the three biggest political parties sought to outmanoeuvre each other over a vote on a ceasefire in Gaza, APA reports citing Reuters.

The uproar followed a decision by the speaker to ignore precedent and allow a vote which helped the opposition Labour Party avoid a large-scale rebellion among its own lawmakers over its position on the Israel-Hamas war.

Lawmakers from the governing Conservatives and the opposition Scottish National Party (SNP) left the debating chamber in protest and some tried to take the rare step of holding proceedings in private.

The speaker, Lindsay Hoyle, eventually apologised and said he had made his decision to allow lawmakers to vote on a range of views because he was concerned about their security after some had faced threats of violence over their stance on the war.

"It is regrettable and I apologise for the decision," he told parliament. "I did not want it to end like this."

Labour, tipped to win a national election expected later this year, has been engulfed by an internal battle over its policy towards the Middle East conflict since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas that led to Israel's invasion of Gaza.

The debate in parliament was initiated by the SNP, which put forward a motion calling for an immediate ceasefire. Labour and the Conservatives, which have both backed Israel while expressing concern over its actions in Gaza, then proposed amendments, with different conditions they said were necessary before there should be a pause in fighting.

In an usual move, Hoyle selected both those amendments to be voted on, breaking with the precedent whereby one opposition party cannot alter another's motion. Usually, only the government amendment would be selected.

Some lawmakers jeered the speaker when he announced his decision. One member of parliament accused Hoyle, a former Labour lawmaker, of causing a "constitutional crisis".

The government's Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt said Hoyle had undermined parliament and the government was pulling out of proceedings.

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THE OPERATION IS BEING PERFORMED