Humza Yousaf has asked Anas Sarwar to "stand firm and back an immediate ceasefire" in Gaza when MSPs debate the war in the Middle East on Tuesday. 

The First Minster's plea to the Scottish Labour leader comes after reports suggested his party could lodge an amendment to soften the motion from the Scottish Government. 

According to Scotland on Sunday, Scottish Labour could seek to spell out the conditions necessary for a ceasefire to begin, rather than call for one instantly.

READ MORE: Sarwar insists Labour MSPs will vote for Gaza ceasefire in Holyrood

Yesterday, Mr Sarwar insisted his position had not changed, despite the splits in his party.

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

That was despite Mr Sarwar’s claim last month 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.


Speaking to the BBC’s Sunday Show, Mr Sarwar insisted his MSPs 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.”

“Right 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.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf urges Qatar to help broker Gaza ceasefire

The motion to be debated by MSPs tomorrow "unequivocally condemns in the strongest possible terms Hamas’s barbaric and unjustifiable terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens on 7 October, and demands the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages."

It goes on to say the "killing of innocent civilians in Gaza, including women and children who have been besieged by Israeli forces, must stop" and that the parliament should agree "with many in the international community that all parties must agree to an immediate ceasefire."

Mr Yousaf said: "This week, the Scottish Parliament has an opportunity to unite to send a message of peace to world leaders and to those enduring untold suffering in the Middle East.

“The motion that will be debated, tabled today, condemns the barbaric and unjustifiable actions of Hamas and echoes the calls of the UN Secretary-General for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.

“This is a time for all of us to show leadership in the face of this humanitarian catastrophe. Anas Sarwar must stand firm and back an immediate ceasefire.

"The motion reflects his own public position on the issue. We will await the detail of the Labour amendment, but it must not water down calls for a ceasefire, as is being reported.

“An immediate ceasefire is the only way to end the tragic deaths of civilians. This week, I urge MSPs of all parties to come together and say enough is enough - the time for a ceasefire is now.”