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Chaos erupts as UK parliament votes on Gaza ceasefire

The House of Commons in the UK witnessed turmoil as both the government and the Scottish National Party (SNP) criticized Speaker Lindsay Hoyle for his handling of a crucial vote regarding support for a ceasefire in Gaza.

On Wednesday, lawmakers from the SNP and the Conservative Party, which leads the government, walked out of the chamber in apparent protest against the speaker’s decisions.

The chaos ensued after Hoyle chose to deviate from precedent and allowed a vote that helped the opposition Labour Party avoid a major rebellion among its own members over its stance on Israel’s conflict with Gaza.

The parliamentary debate was initiated by the SNP, which proposed a motion calling for an “immediate ceasefire” in Gaza. Labour and the Conservatives then introduced amendments, each with different conditions for pausing the fighting.

In an unprecedented move, Hoyle selected both amendments for a vote, breaking with the usual practice where one opposition party cannot amend another’s motion. This decision drew jeers from some lawmakers.

Amid the confusion, the Labour amendment was eventually approved verbally, without a formal vote recording individual lawmakers’ views.

Some MPs accused Hoyle, a former Labour member, of triggering a “constitutional crisis.”

Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt criticized Hoyle for “hijacking” the debate and eroding the House’s confidence, leading the government to withdraw from the proceedings.

Hoyle’s decision allowed Labour to avoid a potentially damaging split over the SNP motion. A similar motion in November had led to the largest revolt against Labour leader Keir Starmer’s leadership.

Starmer, initially supportive of Israel, faces mounting pressure from Labour members to endorse an immediate ceasefire.

Reporting from London, Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett described the vote as a “farce,” noting that the SNP and Conservatives were furious, while Labour seemed to escape a difficult situation.

SNP MP Ian Blackford lamented that the day’s events distracted from the situation in Gaza and undermined the impact of the eventual vote.

Conservative MP William Wragg brought forward a motion expressing no confidence in the speaker, reflecting the anger among some lawmakers at what they saw as a departure from Hoyle’s neutral role.

Hoyle later returned to the Commons and apologized for the outcome, expressing regret that his decision did not align with his intentions.


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