Pressure mounts on Sunak and Starmer as Sadiq Khan calls for ceasefire in Gaza

The mayor of London has said a ceasefire would "allow the international community more time to prevent a protracted conflict in the region and further devastating loss of life"

Sadiq Khan

Prime minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Keir Starmer are facing increasing pressure to call for a ceasefire in Gaza as the mayor of London Sadiq Khan has today released a statement calling for one.

In a video posted on social media, Khan said: “The terrible situation in Gaza now looks set to deteriorate even further. Thousands of innocent civilians – men, women and children have already been killed. Ant it’s becoming impossible for aid to reach the people who desperately need it. Substantial military escalation is now likely, which will only deepen the humanitarian disaster.

“I join the international community in calling for a ceasefire. It would stop the killing and would allow vital aid supplies to reach those who need it in Gaza. It would also allow the international community more time to prevent a protracted conflict in the region and further devastating loss of life.”

Neither Sunak nor Starmer have called for a ceasefire in Gaza.

At prime minister’s questions this week, Sunak said that he wanted to see “specific pauses – as distinct from a ceasefire” in order to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, and said on a visit to Israel last week: “We will stand with you in solidarity, we will stand with your people. And we also want you to win”.

Starmer, has also stopped short of calling for a ceasefire, despite increasing pressure from within the Labour Party to do so.

95 MPs have now signed an Early Day Motion in parliament calling for a ceasefire. Nearly a quarter of Labour’s MPs are among those to have signed the motion.

Over 250 Muslim Labour councillors have signed an open letter to Starmer calling for an immediate ceasefire, and dozens of other councillors have resigned their party membership of Labour’s position.

The mayor of London’s intervention comes on the same day that 250 leading British lawyers have written to the prime minister calling for the UK government to use its influence to press for a ceasefire.

Both the Green Party and the SNP have called for an immediate ceasefire. The Liberal Democrats have said they want to see a “temporary humanitarian ceasefire”.

Since the attack on Israel by Hamas’ military wing on October 7, more than 1,000 Israelis and over 7,000 Palestinians have been killed – the overwhelming majority of them civilians.

Over 1 million Palestinians have been displaced after Israel issued evacuation warnings in the north of Gaza. Israel is maintaining a siege on Gaza in which it has cut off water, fuel, medication and food from entering the Palestinian territory.

Chris Jarvis is head of strategy and development at Left Foot Forward

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