Anas Sarwar has become the latest senior Labour figure to call for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, adding further pressure on Sir Keir Starmer.

The MSP's intervention comes just hours after Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said a ceasefire was vital to avoid a “substantial military escalation”.

The men are two of Labour's most senior Muslim politicians. 

Sir Keir has so far resisted calls to support a ceasefire. He backs the UK Government's demand for temporary pauses in the fighting to allow aid in.

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In a video post on social media, the Scottish Labour leader said too many innocent lives have been lost.

He said: “We are all so desperate for peace and are desperate to see the end of violence.

“And that is why we need to see the immediate release of hostages, immediate access to humanitarian supplies, food, medicine, electricity, water, into Gaza, the immediate cessation of violence, with an end of rocket fire into and out of Gaza.

"And let me be clear, that means a ceasefire right now.

"That’s the only way we can see a safe, secure and free Palestine and a safe, secure and free Israel."

Earlier, in a video posted on social media, Mr Khan said: “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.

“A widespread military escalation will only deepen the humanitarian disaster. It will increase human suffering on all sides. No nation, including Israel, has the right to break international law,” he added.

More than 250 Labour councillors and nearly a quarter of MPs, including two on the frontbench, have now supported a ceasefire.

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Shadow environment secretary Steve Reed defended the leadership’s position.

He told Sky News: “I completely understand and empathise with colleagues who are seeing what’s going on in Gaza and are just feeling desperate, so many viewers will be looking at those scenes today and feel just anguish at the pain and suffering that is going on.

“But what I would say to colleagues is if this attack that Israel suffered had been on the UK, if it had been on the US, our state, the United States and our state would have sought to defend ourselves to protect our citizens by dismantling the capability of a terrorist organisation that carried it out, that applies to Israel too, they have the right under international law to do that."

Earlier this week there were claims that some Labour frontbenchers were set to quit over the row.

Sir Keir has also faced a backlash because of real anger over comments about Israel's siege of Gaza following the brutal terror attack carried out by Hamas on October 7.

When asked by LBC if Israel was right to cut off the enclave's water and power, he replied. “I think that Israel does have that right, it is an ongoing situation, obviously everything should be done within international law."

He later attempted to clarify the remarks, insisting he had been talking about Israel's right to defend itself, and was not endorsing the collective punishment of Gazans. 

Meanwhile, Humza Yousaf has written to both Sir Keir and Rishi Sunak urging them to back a ceasefire.

In a letter to the party leaders, the First Minister ask for their support "in helping to stop the staggering humanitarian disaster we are witnessing, which is set to get even worse."

He adds: "We should stand together and united in unequivocally calling on all parties to commit to an immediate ceasefire to allow a humanitarian corridor to be opened, so that lifesaving supplies can get into Gaza and innocent civilians who want to leave be given safe passage out.

"The situation in Gaza is at the point of being cataclysmic. All of us must do everything we can to prevent that. There must be no more dithering, or delay, together we must call for an immediate ceasefire."