Anas Sarwar has insisted his position on a ceasefire in Gaza has not changed, despite his party's two Scottish MPs defying him to back Sir Keir Starmer. 

Michael Shanks and Ian Murray did not back an SNP amendment to the King's Speech which called for a “full, comprehensive and immediate humanitarian pause in the fighting across the whole of Gaza now.”

That was despite Mr Sarwar’s claim that this is the “only way we can see a safe, secure and free Palestine and a safe, secure and free Israel."

Instead, the two men followed the Labour whip and supported the party’s motion which criticised Israel’s conduct and the lack of aid getting into Gaza, but stopped short of calling for a ceasefire.

However, 56 of their colleagues defied Sir Keir Starmer’s orders and backed the SNP, including eight frontbenchers and two Parliamentary Private Secretaries, who were subsequently sacked.

The decision of Mr Shanks and Mr Murray to back the UK Labour position rather than the Scottish Labour position has led to questions over Mr Sarwar's authority. 

READ MORE: Labour MPs defy Sir Keir Starmer to back SNP call for Gaza ceasefire

There were also reports on Sunday suggesting Scottish Labour may attempt to soften a Scottish Government motion calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza when it comes to Holyrood on Tuesday. 

According to Scotland on Sunday, Scottish Labour will seek to amend the motion to set out the conditions necessary for a ceasefire.

Last month, in a video posted online, Mr Sarwar said there needed to be “a ceasefire right now.”

Speaking to the BBC’s Sunday Show, he insisted his party would be “supporting the position that I've set out now for over three weeks.”

He added: “I think four things need to happen immediately. We need the immediate end of rocket fire going out of and into Gaza. That means a ceasefire right now.

“We need the immediate release of hostages.

“We need immediate access to humanitarian aid, that's food, water, electricity fuel going into the Gaza Strip. I believe withholding that is a clear breach of international law.

“And we need a pathway to a peace process because right now we have no peace, and we have no process.”

Mr Sarwar said a ceasefire would only happen if “both sides are willing to comply.”

“Tight now you have Hamas saying they will repeat the attacks of October 7 and they will continue rocket fire.

“You have Benjamin Netanyahu, who I think we should separate from the Israeli people, saying he won't even consider a ceasefire.

“So on top of calls for a ceasefire, which I fully support, we have got to make sure we use the full force of our international diplomacy to try and create the conditions on the ground to make that ceasefire a reality.”

Mr Sarwar denied that his leadership was undermined by the decision of the Scottish Labour MPs to not back the motion calling for a ceasefire.

He said he would have liked the liked the Labour amendment “to go further.”

The party chief declined to say how he would have voted had he been in Westminster.

Mr Sarwar also criticised attempts to make “a decades-long conflict” about the “internal dynamics of a political party in opposition in the UK.”

He said every single candidate at the next general election would “stand as a Scottish Labour candidate.”

“And they'll be going not to have some kind of internal debate about who their boss is, they will be going to represent the people that they are seeking the election from.”

READ MORE: Scottish Labour MPs will not vote for ceasefire in Gaza

SNP MSP Kuakab Stewart told Scotland on Sunday: “The dismal absence of leadership from Sir Keir Starmer and Labour MPs this week was shameful. Anas Sarwar cannot water down his support for peace under pressure from his London bosses – he must join many of his own MSPs and back a ceasefire. Anas Sarwar must decide which side of history he wants to sit on.”