David Cameron has called for a pause in the conflict in Gaza “today” so that the hostages can be freed from the arms of Hamas.
The foreign secretary also said “everything that can be done” must be done to get help to the besieged enclave, including the possible use of British ships to bring supplies by sea.
The former prime minister, who made a surprise return to the cabinet last month, made the comments on an official visit to Egypt, a key player in the region.
At the weekend the UK reversed its position to back calls for a “sustained ceasefire” in the conflict, which ministers made clear they cannot see Hamas staying put. Rishi Sunak had previously only supported “humanitarian ceasefires” and No 10 warned that a ceasefire would only help Hamas, which killed 1200 people on 7 October.
“We want to see action,” he said during a joint press conference with the country's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry. “We want to see help from Jordan, we want to see help in sea routes.”
“In the meantime, I'm all for a pause in the fighting so we can get hostages out, and if we can get a pause today to start doing that, nobody would be happier for me,” he added. “I want to see all the hostages freed.”
Lord Cameron also said the UK was “pushing hard” to ensure aid supplies reach Gaza, both through the reopened Kerem Shalom border crossing and potentially by sea.
“Are there any opportunities for aid to come from Cyprus to British ships that will be delivered to Gaza? We are working on it.
“Everything that can be done must be done to get aid to Gaza to help the people in the desperate situation they are in,” he said.
Sir Keir Starmer said he supported Lord Cameron's calls for a “sustainable ceasefire” in Gaza. The Labor leader also said he wanted a short-term ceasefire to allow more aid and the release of hostages from Hamas.
“I support a sustainable ceasefire,” he told reporters on a trip to Estonia to visit British troops. “What we're advocating for is getting back to where we were just a few weeks ago, where hostilities stopped.”
Sir Keir added that his party was strongly in favor of a two-state solution to create a Palestinian state – saying it should not be left “in the hands” of Israel.
He said the latest ceasefire “provided a basis for a political process to really resolve this in favor of a two-state solution… This has to be something that international partners are very, very clear about, and it is not in Israel's gift. “