Active Stocks
Thu Apr 18 2024 14:25:30
  1. Tata Steel share price
  2. 161.65 1.00%
  1. Power Grid Corporation Of India share price
  2. 281.05 2.44%
  1. Infosys share price
  2. 1,425.95 0.79%
  1. NTPC share price
  2. 355.65 -1.00%
  1. Wipro share price
  2. 447.80 -0.18%
Business News/ News / UK’s House of Commons Descends Into Chaos Over Vote on Gaza Ceasefire
BackBack

UK’s House of Commons Descends Into Chaos Over Vote on Gaza Ceasefire

A spat over a non-binding vote on the Israel-Hamas war triggered chaotic scenes in the UK’s House of Commons, after the Scottish National Party walked out of the chamber in protest and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s governing Conservatives also refused to cast their ballots.

UK’s House of Commons Descends Into Chaos Over Vote on Gaza CeasefirePremium
UK’s House of Commons Descends Into Chaos Over Vote on Gaza Ceasefire

(Bloomberg) -- A spat over a non-binding vote on the Israel-Hamas war triggered chaotic scenes in the UK’s House of Commons, after the Scottish National Party walked out of the chamber in protest and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s governing Conservatives also refused to cast their ballots.

The disarray was triggered after Speaker Lindsay Hoyle controversially allowed both Labour and the Sunak’s Tories to propose changes to the SNP’s call for a ceasefire in Gaza. Though the differences between the three parties’ is marginal — all want an end to the fighting but with different caveats applied — some MPs were furious at a procedural shift they saw as favoring Labour.

The stakes for Starmer were high ahead of the Commons session. He suffered a rebellion by dozens of his MPs in a similar vote called by the SNP in November. He has been battling to keep his party — which traditionally has strong support among British Muslims — united ever since Hamas’ attack on Israel in October. 

Ahead of the vote, his team had come up with a motion designed to keep MPs onside — an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire" that also called for hostages held by Hamas to be released and for the peace process to be revived.

The potential problem was that Starmer’s motion might not be put to a vote, under a Commons convention that opposition parties cannot try to amend a proposal put forward by another opposition party. Wednesday was designated an opposition day for the SNP, meaning Labour would ordinarily be expected to be limited to voting for against the Scottish party’s position.

But Hoyle’s intervention changed that in Labour’s favor. Instead of a vote on the SNP’s position, Hoyle said MPs would first come to a decision on Starmer’s. In simple terms, that meant that if the House of Commons voted for Labour’s position, the SNP wouldn’t get to test support for its own position.

The SNP’s leader in the House of Commons Stephen Flynn protested that would turn his party’s designated day in Parliament into Labour’s. There’s also a widespread view in Westminster that having caused so much trouble for Starmer last time, the SNP was maneuvering to trigger another Labour rebellion.

By refusing to take part, Sunak’s Conservatives also avoided the scenario where they would have to vote against a ceasefire — whether Labour’s version or the SNP’s — to avoid supporting an opposition party, despite the fact that many Tory MPs expressed their desire to see an end to the fighting.

Hoyle, meanwhile, returned to the chamber to apologize, and offered to meet the leaders of the parties. “I thought I was doing the right thing and the best thing, and I regret it, and I apologize for how it’s ended up," he told MPs.

In the event, some MPs were confused about whether a vote had actually taken place. It did and Starmer won, though in another arcane bit of parliamentary procedure, no ballots were actually cast. In all the chaos, beyond avoiding a rebellion any political benefit to the Labour leader is likely to be minimal.

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

Unlock a world of Benefits! From insightful newsletters to real-time stock tracking, breaking news and a personalized newsfeed – it's all here, just a click away! Login Now!

Catch all the Business News, Market News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.
More Less
Published: 22 Feb 2024, 01:27 AM IST
Next Story footLogo
Recommended For You
Switch to the Mint app for fast and personalized news - Get App