The UK Government has received legal advice that Israel is breaking international humanitarian law, a senior Conservative backbencher has said.

Alicia Kearns, who is the chairwoman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, made the claim at an evening drinks reception hosted by the West Hampstead and Fortune Green Conservatives in London on March 13.

In a leaked recording, she can be heard telling guests: “The Foreign Office has received official legal advice that Israel has broken international humanitarian law but the Government has not announced it.

“They have not said it, they haven’t stopped arms exports.

“They have done a few very small sanctions on Israeli settlers – and everyone internationally is agreed that settlers are illegal, that they shouldn’t be doing what they’re doing, and the ways in which they have continued and the money that’s been put in.”

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On Saturday she stood by the comments, telling the Observer: “I remain convinced the Government has completed its updated assessment on whether Israel is demonstrating a commitment to international humanitarian law, and that it has concluded that Israel is not demonstrating this commitment, which is the legal determination it has to make.

“Transparency at this point is paramount, not least to uphold the international rules-based order.”

When he appeared in front of Ms Kearns’ committee in January, Lord Cameron, the Foreign Secretary, was repeatedly questioned about the legal advice he had received.

“I cannot recall every single bit of paper that has been put in front of me,” he told Ms Kearns.

“I look at everything. Of course, there are a lot of things that have happened where you think surely that was something that shouldn’t have happened.”

The Herald: Palestinians inspect the damage to a residential building for the Moussa family after an Israeli airstrike in the Maghazi refugee camp, central Gaza Strip, Friday, March 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Ismael Abu Dayyah)

Stephen Flynn MP, the SNP's Westminster leader, said the UK government needed to "come clean."

He said: "The Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary owe it to the public and to the high offices they currently hold to be honest about whether they have received advice that Israel has breached international humanitarian law.

"If reports are to be believed, and the UK government has continued to supply arms and intelligence to Israel whilst knowing they were in breach of international humanitarian law, then the position of both would be untenable.

"100,000 men, women and children have been killed or injured in this conflict so far - and with the people of Gaza on the brink of famine, the UK government has refused to act.

"How many more innocent civilians must suffer before Westminster finally acts?"

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We keep advice on Israel’s adherence to international humanitarian law under review and ministers act in accordance with that advice, for example when considering export licences.

“The content of the Government’s advice is confidential.”

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Meanwhile, a cross-party group of more than 50 MPs and peers called on the UK to end its pause in funding the UN’s humanitarian relief agency in Palestine.

The UK was among a group of countries which halted funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) amid allegations from Israel that some staff members were involved in the October 7 atrocities carried out by Hamas.

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The SNP’s Brendan O’Hara, who organised the letter said funding should be restored “without delay”.

He said: "The situation is Gaza has reached a critical juncture, with grave implications for regional peace, security and human rights.

"That is why I have written to the Foreign Secretary, Lord Cameron, to demand comprehensive answers in relation to UNRWA funding.

"Since the grave allegations from Israeli authorities about UNRWA, two independent investigations have taken place. Following their conclusion, our allies in Canada, France, Finland, Australia, Sweden and the European Union have all resorted funding. So why hasn't the UK?

"UNRWA has played a vital role in supporting the approximately 1.9 million internally displaced Palestinians throughout this conflict.

"Cutting off their funding has done monumental reputation damage and has risked derailing the critical lifesaving work they do."