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MPs Back Calls For 'Immediate' Gaza Ceasefire On Day Of Commons Chaos

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators wave Palestinian flags and hold placards as they protest in Parliament Square in London on February 21, 2024, during an Opposition Day motion in the the House of Commons calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators wave Palestinian flags and hold placards as they protest in Parliament Square in London on February 21, 2024, during an Opposition Day motion in the the House of Commons calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators wave Palestinian flags and hold placards as they protest in Parliament Square in London on February 21, 2024, during an Opposition Day motion in the the House of Commons calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

MPs have backed calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza on a day of chaos in the House of Commons.

A furious row erupted in the chamber over a controversial ruling made by Speaker Lindsay Hoyle before the debate began.

In a highly unusual move, he chose a Labour amendment to an SNP opposition day motion, sparking anger from both Scottish nationalist and Tory MPs.

He told MPs: “It’s important on this occasion that the House is able to consider the widest possible range of options.”

SNP MPs shouted “shame” at Hoyle as he delivered his ruling, which killed off any chance of Keir Starmer suffering a rebellion similar to the one in November which saw 56 Labour MPs defy him over the war.

Owen Thompson, the SNP chief whip, accused Hoyle - who was elected as a Labour MP in 1997 - of “doing things in a way that has never been done before”.

Following four hours of debate, Commons leader Penny Mordaunt then stunned MPs by withdrawing the government’s own amendment calling for a “humanitarian pause” in the conflict.

She said that was in protest at Hoyle’s decision to effectively re-write parliamentary procedure to allow Labour’s amendment to be taken.

Amid chaotic scenes, SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn demanded that Hoyle be brought to the chamber and for the Commons proceedings to be suspended.

When that was denied by deputy speaker Rosie Winterton, all of the SNP MPs, and many Tories, walked out.

After a lengthy delay, Labour’s amendment calling for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” was passed unopposed.

Meanwhile, Labour was forced to deny claims that senior party figures had warned Hoyle that he would be removed as Speaker after the general election unless he chose their amendment.

A Labour spokesperson told HuffPost UK: “It’s complete rubbish. Untrue.”

HuffPost UK has also been told that dozens of MPs have contacted the Speaker to raise fears about their personal safety as a result of how they vote on the issue.

But Hoyle’s decision was publicly criticised by his top adviser, clerk of the Commons Tom Goldsmith.

In a letter published in the House of Commons library, he said it was “a departure from the long-established convention”.

He said there had only been two occasions in the past 25 years when opposition amendments to opposition motions had been accepted, and on both occasions - unlike today - there had been no government amendment as well.

Goldsmith added: “I know that you understand why I feel compelled to point out that long-established conventions are not being followed in this case.

“I am grateful to you for making every effort to discuss this with me extensively and for taking full account of my views when reaching your decision, which I know was not an easy one, and which of course is one for you to make.”

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