Sheffield Labour MP supports party rebellion over Gaza ceasefire vote
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Scottish party the SNP has put forward an amendment to the King’s Speech, calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is putting forward an amendment which will include a repeat of his calls for a humanitarian pause to allow aid to reach Gaza citizens after Israel cut off all vital supplies following the attacks by Hamas on October 7.
Some Labour MPs are expected to defy their leadership and vote for the SNP amendment. Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield has called for a ceasefire but has not confirmed how he will vote.
Sheffield Hallam MP Olivia Blake said that she has already publicly called for a ceasefire and has written to Conservative ministers to urge them to do the same. A statement on her Twitter/X account says that she is undergoing NHS treatment in Sheffield this week so is unable to be in Parliament.
The statement adds: “If I were able to attend, I can assure you that I would absolutely vote for an immediate ceasefire. I am pained that I cannot be there to do so, but my conviction remains unchanged and I will continue to push for a ceasefire with all the means at my disposal.”
The casualties of Israel’s continuing bombardment of Gaza and ground offensive are now said to have topped 11,000 by Gaza’s health ministry. The number killed in the Hamas attacks on October 7 has now been revised down by Israeli officials from 1,400 to 1,200.
The refusal of the Labour leadership to call for a ceasefire has seen resignations by frontbench MP Imran Hussain and some party councillors across the country.
Sheffield Heeley MP and shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh supports her leader’s stance, which includes backing the right of Israel to defend itself.
A meeting of Sheffield City Council earlier this month passed a motion backed by all three main parties, calling for an immediate ceasefire, the release of all hostages by Hamas and for humanitarian aid to be allowed into Gaza.
The meeting was attended by pro-Palestinian protesters who held a demonstration outside the town hall. There has been a series of large pro-Palestine marches and rallies held in Sheffield.
One early protest that went viral globally saw two people climb the town hall to take down an Israeli flag being flown and replace it with a Palestinian one. South Yorkshire Police said last week that they are treating the action as a hate crime.
This is Olivia Blake’s full statement:
“Unfortunately I am unable to be in Parliament this week as I am undergoing medical treatment in Sheffield with our fantastic NHS.
“Many constituents have contacted me about the potential Parliamentary votes on a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza.
“My position has been consistent and clear: an immediate ceasefire is the only way to halt the horrific loss of life we have seen in recent weeks.
“I have advocated for a ceasefire by writing to government ministers, supporting parliamentary motions and making public statements.
“If I were able to attend, I can assure you that I would absolutely vote for an immediate ceasefire. I am pained that I cannot be there to do so, but my conviction remains unchanged and I will continue to push for a ceasefire with all the means at my disposal.”