Home » Chaos in the British House of Commons over the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip

Chaos in the British House of Commons over the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip

by admin
Chaos in the British House of Commons over the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip

A sitting of the British House of Commons on Wednesday he brought to a heated debate and calls for the resignation of the speaker of the House, Lindsay Hoyle, accused of having violated the customs of parliament during the vote on a motion on the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. The news was widely reported not only because an agitation of this kind is unusual by the standards of the House of Commons, but also because some have argued that Hoyle did it to avoid another internal crisis within the Labor Party: before become speaker, in fact, Hoyle was part of the Labor Party.

Wednesday’s session took place during a so-called “opposition day“, that is, a day in which the House of Commons discusses the topics and proposals decided by one of the opposition parties. The opposition has 20 at its disposal opposition days per year, 17 of which are allocated to the largest party, in this case the Labor Party, and 3 to the second largest, the Scottish National Party (SNP). It is a consolidated custom that all the proposals of the chosen party have priority on that day, and that amendments or any other proposals from the other opposition parties are discussed only at the end.

Wednesday’s session was dedicated to the proposals of the Scottish National Party, which had decided to present a motion calling for an “immediate ceasefire” in the Gaza Strip and an “end to the collective punishment of the Palestinian people”. If approved, this motion would not have been binding for the government, but it would have had an important political significance: for some time the Chamber has been trying to agree on a formula to call for a ceasefire in the Strip, without success.

See also  Launching cruise missiles, the Russian military conducts strategic deterrence training NATO: conduct nuclear deterrence exercises

The issue had become urgent given the large demonstrations that continue to be held in London and other cities in the United Kingdom in support of Palestine.

In a normal sitting, the Speaker of the House would have presented the Scottish National Party’s motion, which would then have been discussed and voted on with the other parties. However, on Wednesday Hoyle decided to give precedence to an amendment presented by the Labor Party which called for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire”, a less incisive formula than that proposed by the Scottish party, given that it did not contain the expression “end of punishment collective of the Palestinian people.”

Hoyle said he did this so the House could express its opinion on the “widest range of proposals possible”, given the sensitivity of the topic. His critics, however, argued that he actually wanted to favor the leader of the Labor Party, Keir Starmer, a party which, as usual, Hoyle had left once elected Speaker of the Chamber: the institutional role in fact requires a neutral attitude and impartial behavior.

Lindsay Hoyle (Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament via AP)

The issue of the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip has in fact been a source of tension for months within the Labor Party, which is currently the most popular political force in the polls ahead of the parliamentary elections which will be held by the end of 2024. On the war, the “current” that Starmer refers to has more lenient positions towards Israel, while another part of the party supports the Palestinian cause more clearly and would like the British parliament to harshly condemn Israel’s actions: this position last, which in some ways is closer to that of the Scottish National Party.

In November the Labor Party had gone through an internal crisis precisely because of these differences: 56 deputies, including 10 of those who sit in the front row of the Chamber (i.e. the most important), they had resigned from their roles in protest, to support a Scottish National Party motion calling for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. At the time Keir Starmer had instead only asked for “pauses in the conflict” to get humanitarian aid to the Palestinian population. The Scottish party’s motion had not passed, but the Labor leader’s decision not to listen to the requests of part of his party had created strong tensions that have not yet been completely resolved.

See also  In Córdoba, River Plate drew 2-2 with Talleres in an exciting match

For this reason, many interpreted Hoyle’s decision to give priority to the Labor amendment as a way of trying to help Starmer’s leadership: presenting the Labor Party’s proposal first gave its MPs the opportunity to vote unanimously in favor of a less radical ceasefire request than that of the Scottish National Party, without risking the party dividing and repeating what happened in November. Starmer would in fact like to convey the idea of ​​a “united” party, unlike the Conservative Party which has been in government for years now but has continuously fallen in the polls also due to continuous internal crises and scandals.

When Hoyle announced that the Labor proposal would take precedence, Scottish MPs and even those from the Conservative Party immediately criticized his decision. A heated debate then broke out and dozens of deputies left the chamber in protest: 33 Scottish and conservative deputies signed a motion in which they declared they had no confidence in the speaker’s impartiality and asked for his resignation. At the end of the debate all the majority deputies said they would not participate in the vote and left the room. Left alone, the Labor MPs approved the amendment but without a formal vote, thus rendering the procedure invalid (it is not clear whether all Labor members voted in favor: since it was not a formal vote, but expressed by saying “aye” orally, it is difficult to confirm).

Afterwards, Lindsay Hoyle returned to the courtroom and he apologized in a way that the Guardian he defined it as “unprecedented” for a speaker of the House. Hoyle admitted he had made a mistake, but said he had acted with the best of intentions, thus implicitly denying that he had intended to favor the Labor Party leadership. However, the requests for his resignation have not yet been withdrawn.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy