The Mail on Sunday can also reveal that veteran pro-Palestinian campaigner George Galloway may now stand as London mayor – potentially wrecking Sadiq Khan‘s hopes of re-election by splitting the Labour vote.
Sources close to Workers Party leader Mr Galloway said that his mayoral campaign would be ‘a contest against Starmer’.
Sir Keir was yesterday sticking to his insistence on only ‘humanitarian pauses’ in the fighting in Gaza despite open and growing opposition from Labour MPs.
Shadow Education Minister Matt Western yesterday became the 18th Party frontbencher to go against Sir Keir’s position and call for a ceasefire to stave off ‘an unprecedented humanitarian disaster’ in Gaza.
Labour’s crisis over Gaza dramatically deepened tonight amid plans by Left-wing MPs to defy Sir Keir Starmer and force a Commons vote on a ceasefire in Gaza
He stressed how he detested Hamas but ‘I fear that Israel’s actions will only foment greater anger among ordinary Palestinians as they see their families decimated, literally’.
Now rebel backbenchers are threatening to expose Labour’s divisions even further by pushing for a Commons vote when MPs return to Westminster this week.
One senior Leftwinger said: ‘We are looking to force a vote on an immediate ceasefire in Gaza to show just how many Labour colleagues feel this is the only way to end the dreadful suffering of the Palestinian people.
‘It is also in no way in the interests of the Israeli people for their government’s military onslaught to continue.’
The Labour rebels are now poised to appeal to Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle to allow a vote or, at the very least, give MPs an opportunity to debate the ongoing crisis.
Westminster insiders said that would be difficult in the coming as MPs debate the King’s Speech programme of new government legislation.
But a source said one procedure to force a vote would be an amendment to the formal ‘Humble Address’ motion on the King’s Speech, although that will not be voted on till next week.
Alternatively, another source raised hopes that an ‘opposition day’ debate allocated to the SNP a week on Wednesday could spark a vote.
The Mail on Sunday can also reveal that veteran pro-Palestinian campaigner George Galloway may now stand as London mayor – potentially wrecking Sadiq Khan’s hopes of re-election by splitting the Labour vote
Shadow Education Minister Matt Western (pictured) yesterday became the 18th Party frontbencher to go against Sir Keir’s position and call for a ceasefire to stave off ‘an unprecedented humanitarian disaster’ in Gaza.
The row comes amid reports of several Shadow Ministers with big Muslim populations in their seats being ‘on resignation watch’ – including Justice spokeswoman Shabana Mahmood, although sources close to her insisted last week she was not quitting.
There are also fears that some Labour MPs that Sir Keir’s stance on Gaza could spark challenges in their seats at the next general election from controversial Tower Hamlets’ mayor Lutfur Rahman’s Aspire party as well as Mr Galloway’s Workers Party.
And ex-Labour MP Mr Galloway’s threat to stand against Sadiq Khan could pose a serious threat to the Labour mayor’s re-election hopes – potentially to the benefit of Tory candidate Susan Hall.
Polling expert and Tory peer Robert Hayward said Mr Galloway standing ‘would make a marked difference in the same way as it would if Jeremy Corbyn stood’.
Mr Khan, who is bidding for his third term as mayor, has already moved to distance himself from Sir Keir’s stance on Gaza by calling for a ceasefire.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets across the UK again today to call for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war. Pictured: Activists in Newcastle today
However, sources close to Mr Galloway said dismissed that last night as ‘too little, too late’.
In a bid to contain the Labour rebellion, Sir Keir said last week that ‘while I understand calls for a ceasefire, at this stage I do not believe that is the correct position now’ as ‘Hamas would be emboldened and start preparing for future violence immediately’.
However, leading Left-wing Labour MP Richard Burgon yesterday called for a ‘negotiated ceasefire – one binding on all parties – that can bring an end to this crisis’.
Last night, Liberal Democrat sources said they would ‘look at it’ seeking to table an amendment for a ceasefire vote.
However, they stressed they were seeking ‘a temporary humanitarian ceasefire and a full hostage return’.