A FOREIGN Office minister refused to say whether British soldiers are on the ground in Gaza in a parliamentary debate on the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Speaking in the debate, Jeremy Corbyn (below), independent MP for Islington North, said: “Israel is clearly undertaking an act of cleansing of the entire population of Gaza. It is illegal in international law and in no way is it a proportionate response to the appalling events of October 7.”

The National: Jeremy Corbyn

He then asked Foreign Office minister Leo Docherty: “Can he assure us there are no British soldiers on the ground in Gaza?”

Docherty responded: “Mr Speaker, I don’t share his assessment or his view of the context, and of course it’s clear that the Israeli objective is to defend itself against the terrorist group of Hamas.”

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Docherty is answering questions in the Commons on behalf of Foreign Secretary David Cameron, who is accountable to the House of Lords.

Docherty also confirmed that the UK Government would not yet be submitting evidence to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court regarding possible breaches of international humanitarian law in Israel and Palestine.

Docherty also said the UK Government was looking at the possibility of shipping humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Conservative former minister Kit Malthouse asked: “If the RAF can fly surveillance planes over the Gaza Strip in the much-needed search for hostages and to help in their release, what is to stop us flying cargo planes over and parachuting food and medicine to a starving population?”

Docherty replied: “A very significant tonnage of humanitarian aid has been delivered by UK aircrafts, 74 times currently, we are doubling that."

He added: “Greater utility lies in the assessment as to whether or not there could be a maritime route for an increase in humanitarian supplies.”