Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer have been urged to back calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza ahead of Israel’s planned offensive in the southern city of Rafah.

The SNP’s Westminster Leader Stephen Flynn MP has pleaded with both the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition to act, warning that any military action would be tantamount to going to war with a refugee camp. 

More than half of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million people are currently living in Rafah. Many of them arrived there after being forced to flee their homes.  

Israel claims the city is also the last remaining stronghold for Hamas. Benjamin Netanyahu has said sending troops into Rafah is necessary to eliminate the terrorist organisation responsible for the brutal attack on 7 October which saw 1,400 killed.

READ MORE: Israel warned by Egypt as Rafah ground invasion looms

In a letter to Mr Sunak and Sir Keir, Mr Flynn said the estimated 1.5 million Palestinians sheltering in Rafah were “now being ordered to evacuate their own homeland by the Israeli army, and they have nowhere else to go.”

He added: “Ten of thousands of innocent civilians – men, women and thousands of children - have already been killed in Gaza. I fear those numbers of civilian dead rise rapidly if the attack on Rafah goes ahead.”

The Herald:

Mr Flynn added: "Whatever our differences on this issue in the past number of months, whatever the rationale for the UK government and the Labour Party in opposing an immediate ceasefire until this point, surely now is the time to say enough is enough.

“Only pressing for an immediate ceasefire has any hope of stopping an even more horrific humanitarian disaster unfolding before the watching world.”

READ MORE: At least 31 killed in Rafah as Israel prepares ground invasion

Over the weekend, Foreign Secretary David Cameron took to X to say he was "deeply concerned about the prospect of a military offensive in Rafah"

"Over half of Gaza’s population are sheltering in the area," he added.

“The priority must be an immediate pause in the fighting to get aid in and hostages out, then progress towards a sustainable, permanent ceasefire.”

Also writing on X, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the "Israeli offensive there would be catastrophic."

“The fighting must stop now. We need a sustainable ceasefire," he added.

First Minister Humza Yousaf has also warned that the invasion would cause “devastation beyond comprehension”.

The latest figures from the Hamas-run health ministry put the overall Palestinian death toll at more than 28,000.