First Minister to lead Holyrood debate on Gaza ceasefire

Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf will lead talks on a Gaza ceasefire on Tuesday.

Mr Yousaf tabled a motion on Monday, which will be debated at Holyrood, calling for an “immediate ceasefire” in the conflict, also condemning the “barbaric and unjustified” attacks by Hamas on October 7 and demanding the release of all hostages.

On Monday, the First Minister said: “This week, the Scottish Parliament has an opportunity to come together to send a message of peace to world leaders and to those suffering untold suffering in the Middle East.

“The motion to be debated, to be tabled today, condemns the barbaric and unjustified actions of Hamas and echoes the UN Secretary-General's calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.”

I urge the MFAs of all parties to come together and say enough is enough – the time for a ceasefire is now

Humza Yousaf, First Minister

He added: “An immediate ceasefire is the only way to end the tragic civilian deaths.

“This week, I urge all parties' MFAs to come together and say enough is enough – the time for a ceasefire is now.”

It is understood the Prime Minister will avoid overt partisanship during his speech, instead drawing on his personal family experience of the conflict.

Mr Yousaf's in-laws, Elizabeth and Maged El-Nakla, visited the family before the October 7 attack, trapped in Gaza when Israeli retaliation began.

Both eventually managed to escape through the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip.

The couple, however, were forced to leave their family in the area, including their son, who works as a doctor in what Mr Yousaf said on Sunday in a “terrible way”.

Scottish Labor confirmed on Monday that the party would back calls for a ceasefire, while a report in The Scotsman newspaper claimed the Scottish Lib Dems would also vote in favour.

The proposal comes less than a week after a major rebellion among Labor MPs in Westminster over the same issue.

Sir Keir Starmer lost eight opponents as a result of the vote, in which he had lashed out at MPs against backing the ceasefire.

An amendment to the Scottish Government resolution, tabled by the Labor Party, would include calls for the International Criminal Court to investigate all parties to the conflict.

The party has also criticized the SNP's behaviour, accusing them of playing “petty politics” by attacking Labour, with First Minister Humza Yousaf calling on leader Anas Sarwar to “stand firm” and back a ceasefire despite statements of support about the traffic in recent weeks.

A Labor spokesman said: “This is a deeply disappointing approach from the SNP in public.

“Since last Thursday, the SNP and Scottish Labor have been working on both a motion and an amendment that represents broad consensus across Parliament.

“Prior to this statement, business leaders from both parties had agreed to support both the SNP proposal and Labour's amendment.”

The spokesman added: “Despite the agreement between Labor and the SNP on both the motion calling for an immediate ceasefire and the Labor amendment going further, the SNP has now shown it wants to play micro-politics on this issue.

“The SNP press office should retract this disgraceful attack which tarnishes the work both parties have done behind the scenes on this important issue.”

Ross Greer, the Scottish Greens' foreign affairs spokesman, said all the party's MSPs would vote in favor of the motion.

“That's enough. Israel's relentless bombing campaign has already killed 15,000 people, including at least 5,000 children,” he said.

“If the international community and governments like Scotland use our voice to call for peace, it can make a difference.

“Today's vote is an opportunity for MSPs from all parties to come together and send a clear message of solidarity to the people of Gaza.