SNP intends to force a vote on recognising Palestine after general election

Scotland's First Minister John Swinney has written to opponents demanding they do 'the right thing'

Scotland's First Minister John Swinney has sent letters to UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Keir Starmer. Getty Images
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Scotland's First Minister John Swinney has threatened to call a vote at Westminster after the election if other party leaders do not “immediately” recognise the state of Palestine.

The SNP leader has written to UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Keir Starmer to demand they “do the right thing”. The letter comes on the day that Ireland, Spain and Norway formally recognise Palestine.

Mr Swinney said the SNP would force a binding vote in the House of Commons after the general election if the two largest parties failed to do so.

“I urge you both to belatedly do the right thing and pledge to immediately recognise Palestine as a state in its own right,” he wrote.

“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.”

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

“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,” he said.

“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.

It comes as SNP member of the Scottish Parliament John Mason said the International Criminal Court 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 “biased against Israel”.

“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,” a party spokesman said.

Norway, Spain and Ireland recognise state of Palestine - in pictures

Updated: May 28, 2024, 1:16 PM