THE Welsh Parliament has called for an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East.

The motion, which was tabled by Plaid Cymru in the Senedd, urged for an end to “the appalling attacks on innocent civilians”.

Welsh government ministers abstained from the vote, although Labour backbenchers were given a free vote on the motion and on an amendment tabled by the Conservatives.

Several members on Labour’s backbenches spoke out in favour of a ceasefire including Jenny Rathbone, John Griffiths and Carolyn Thomas.

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It means Keir Starmer (below) continues to come under pressure amid his refusal to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

A frontbench MP resigned from his role yesterday while a number of Burnley councillors also did the same last week.

The National:

We previously told how several Labour officials in Scotland also stepped down due to Starmer’s position on the matter.

A total of 24 members of the Senedd voted in favour of the motion, with 19 against and the remaining 13 abstaining.

Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth (below) said members owed it “to all those who have lost their lives, Israeli and Palestinian, to speak up for a lasting peace”.

He said: “We are at our best as parliamentarians when we speak with a united voice. Sadly, for too many today, we are also a voice for the voiceless.

The National: Rhun ap Iorwerth

“It is in that spirit that we sought cross party support for this motion with a clear and unequivocal call for a ceasefire from both sides as a precursor to peace talks, an immediate and lasting end to the violence and death of civilians in Israel and Palestine, and a global effort to ease the humanitarian suffering in Gaza.

“I am proud that tonight, our Senedd, representing the people of our nation, has taken a stand in the cause of humanity.

“I give my heartfelt thanks to all those from across the political parties, including Labour and Liberal Democrat members, who supported the motion today.

“Whilst some will doubt the strength of a solitary parliament’s call for a ceasefire, Wales can, in this hour of unimaginable horror, be a small nation making a powerful statement for peace.

The Welsh Conservatives tabled an amendment to the motion which called for a “suspension of hostilities to allow for the establishment of humanitarian corridors” but this was not voted on.

Senedd member Darren Millar said Israel “has the right to defend itself and its citizens in the face of such barbarity”.

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He said all members wanted an end to violence but that a ceasefire “can only ever be successful if it’s observed by both parties in a conflict”.

Meanwhile, the Welsh government’s social justice minister Jane Hutt said in response to the debate that the Senedd was “united in (its) horror at the events which have unfolded in Israel and Gaza over recent weeks”.

She added: “We are clear that finding the way to end the violence, suffering and death is absolutely essential and it must remain the focus above all else to find that pathway to peace.

“I believe members have reflected a shared hope for an end to this war, an end to the humanitarian crisis unfolding.”