UK

SNP to force vote on Palestine recognition if Sunak and Starmer ignore calls

The SNP leader has written to the opposition parties to demand they urgently recognise Palestine as an official state.

SNP leader John Swinney urged Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer to recognise Palestine as a state.
SNP leader John Swinney urged Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer to recognise Palestine as a state. (Jane Barlow/PA)

Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer must “immediately” recognise the state of Palestine, John Swinney has said.

The SNP leader has written to his political opponents to demand they “do the right thing”.

He said the SNP would force a binding vote at Westminster after the General Election if they failed to do so.

His letter to the Prime Minister and Labour leader Sir Keir said: “I urge you both to belatedly do the right thing and pledge to immediately recognise Palestine as a state in its own right.

“If you will not immediately commit to doing so, I can confirm that SNP MPs will bring forward a binding vote in the House of Commons at the first possible opportunity after the General Election.”

Scottish First Minister Mr Swinney said recognition would offer “hope” that a “durable political solution” was possible between Israel and Palestine.

He said: “Ending the humanitarian catastrophe we are seeing in Gaza is without a doubt one of the greatest moral issues of our time. In generations to come, people will look back and ask what each of us with a platform did to end the suffering.

“We all have a duty to do whatever we can to bring about a peaceful resolution, and it is clear that full recognition of Palestine as a state in its own right will be a huge step towards a just and durable political solution.

“I am calling on the UK to follow the lead of Ireland, Norway and Spain by immediately recognising Palestine as a state – and if Rishi Sunak will not do it now, Keir Starmer must commit to doing so on his first day in Downing Street.”

The SNP, he said, had been a “moral compass” on the Gaza issues at Westminster.

The UK Government and the Labour party has been asked for comment.

It comes as SNP MSP John Mason said the International Criminal Court (ICC) was “biased against Israel” after it stated it would seek the arrest of senior Hamas leaders and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for alleged war crimes.

In an email to Show Israel the Red Card, a group urging politicians to sever sporting links with the country, he said the ICC was “not neutral” and “are biased against Israel”.

A Labour Party spokesman said: “The Labour Party will work alongside international partners to recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel, as part of efforts to contribute to securing a negotiated two-state solution.”