Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has refused to back Humza Yousaf’s plea to recognise an independent Palestine – insisting he will only do so “when it best serves the interests of peace”.

Yesterday, ahead of Holyrood backing an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East and supporting calls for the International Criminal Court to investigate war crimes on both sides, Mr Yousaf wrote to the PM, urging him to recognise a state of Palestine.

The Prime Minister told MPs that he welcomed the humanitarian pause agreed in the Israel-Gaza conflict, branding it a “crucial step towards ending the nightmare” for the families of those taken hostage by Hamas.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, he said: “We welcome the agreement reached overnight for a humanitarian pause in Gaza.

Read more: Humza Yousaf urges UK Government to 'recognise state of Palestine'

“This is something that we have consistently pushed for and is a crucial steps towards ending the nightmare for families of those taken hostage in Hamas’s terror attack and also addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.”

But Mr Flynn repeated the call made yesterday by the First Minister, his party leader, for a permanent ceasefire in the Middle East, now that a humanitarian pause had been brokered.

Mr Flynn said: “I think all of us in the chamber are united in our relief at reports that hostages are due to be release by Hamas in Gaza, but we can’t afford to lose sight of what comes at the other side of the temporary pause in hostilities that we are about to see.

“At the end of four days do we simply see the return to the killing of children in Gaza every 10 minutes?

“Or do we choose in this House to instead back a permanent ceasefire?”

Read more: Humza Yousaf: MPs who refused to back ceasefire in Gaza 'unforgivable'

In response, the PM said: “Of course we want to see all hostages released as quickly as possible, including British nationals, and I would urge all parties involved to deliver the agreement in full.”

Mr Sunak thanked Qatar for its role in the negotiations, and said the UK would “maximise the opportunity of this temporary pause to step up aid to suffering civilians in Gaza”.

The SNP Westminster leader echoed the First Minister’s call for the UK Government to recognise a state of Palestine and push for a two-state solution to the Middle East crisis.

Mr Flynn said: “Ultimately it is not a pause in the killing of children that we need, it is an end to the killing of children that we need.

“I can think of no better time than now for the Prime Minister to advocate for that permanent ceasefire, but given that he won’t currently do that, will he instead lay the foundations for that two-state solution by finally recognising the state of Palestine?”

Read more: Humza Yousaf: Mother-in-law breaks silence on Gaza ordeal

Mr Sunak replied: “Our position on the Middle East peace process more broadly is clear.

“We do support a negotiated settlement leading to a safe and secure Israel living alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state.”

The Prime Minister added: “I have spoken to (Palestinian) President (Mahmoud) Abbas and met with him to discuss this issue and we are clear about strengthening the Palestinian Authority and reinvigorating efforts to find a two-state solution, and our longstanding position is that we would recognise the state of Palestine when it best serves the interests of peace.”

Speaking after PMQs, Mr Flynn said: “It is extremely disappointing that Rishi Sunak refused to stand up in the House of Commons today and recognise the state of Palestine - and, once again, failed to back a lasting ceasefire.

“The Prime Minister says he will recognise Palestine as a state ‘when the time is right’ - the right time is now.

“5,350 children have been killed in Gaza so far and the only thing that will put that to an end is a permanent ceasefire and a lasting two-state solution."

A UK Government spokesperson said: “As the Prime Minister has said, we continue to support a just solution to the conflict for both sides and remain committed to a two-state solution that protects the peace and security of both Israelis and Palestinians, with the West Bank and Gaza part of a viable and sovereign Palestinian state.”