On the side of a ceasefire—voting ‘Ayes’—were several Labour MPs of Pakistani origin, including Tahir Ali and Khalid Mahmood of Birmingham, Rosena Allin-Khan of Tooting, Afzal Khan of Manchester, Imran Hussain of Bradford East, Yasmin Qureshi for Bolton South-East, Naz Shah for Bradford West, Zarah Sultana for Coventry South, and Mohammad Yasin for Bedford. Anum Qaisar voted as part of the Scottish National Party (SNP) for Airdrie and Shotts.
Afzal Khan and Yasmin Qureshi had reportedly quit their roles as shadow ministers in order to back the motion on a Gaza ceasefire from the Scottish National Party.
A number of MPs also abstained from the vote, having no vote recorded, including Nusrat Munir Ul-Ghani, an AJK-born Conservative representing Wealden in East Sussex, and Shabana Mahmood, a Pakistan-origin Labour politician who currently serves as the Shadow Secretary of State for Justice on behalf of Labour.
This vote came at a time of escalating conflict in Gaza, with reports of over 11,500 Palestinians having been killed at the hands of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), including many children, and the displacement of 1.5 million people.
Labour leader Keir Starmer, aligning with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and international leaders like those in the United States and the European Union, advocated for “humanitarian pauses” rather than a full ceasefire. Starmer’s stance was that a ceasefire would allow Hamas to regroup following its attack on October 7. This position led to a rift within the Labour Party, as evidenced by the large number of Labour MPs defying the party line. Eight members of Starmer’s shadow ministerial team in total resigned from their roles to vote in favor of the ceasefire. This defiance was a significant challenge to Starmer, who has been striving to present Labour as a united and disciplined party ahead of the national elections expected next year.
Starmer put forward a rival amendment, which proposed that humanitarian pauses “must be longer to deliver humanitarian assistance … a necessary step to an enduring cessation of fighting as soon as possible”. This amendment, however, was also defeated, with 183 lawmakers supporting it and 290 voting against it.