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Westminster can't ignore ceasefire demand

Earlier this evening, I joined a coalition of international non-governmental organisations to back their united call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, to end the appalling suffering of people in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel.

The UK Government can no longer look the other way and they can no longer ignore the growing calls for an end to the bloodshed. Anyone in the vicinity of the House of Commons this evening certainly could not miss the large, illuminated letters spelling out CEASEFIRE NOW that I helped to hold alongside a number of humanitarian charities.

Those present tonight represented Action Against Hunger, Action for Humanity, ActionAid UK, Care International, Christian Aid, International Rescue Committee UK, Islamic Relief UK, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), Mercy Corps, Oxfam, Plan International UK, and Save the Children.

The expertise and on-the-ground experience of these charities meant that they were in a position to share some of the harrowing testimonies from their teams and partners caught under bombardment in Gaza, redoubling my own determination to see an immediate ceasefire.

The Ceasefire Now campaign has seen over 3 million people around the world call for an immediate, permanent ceasefire. Without one, it is virtually impossible to reach over 2 million people who are trapped in Gaza without access to clean water, food, healthcare, proper shelter and sanitation.

In recent days we have seen a distinct change in tone from the UK Government. Though still falling short of calling for an immediate ceasefire, it is clear that ministers are buckling under public pressure. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who has faced fierce criticism from within his own party over his unqualified support for the destruction of Gaza, has also changed tone and is echoing the Tories.

Though the situation in Gaza is bleak, every single voice for peace has the power to bring change. An immediate and permanent end to the warfare is desperately needed and the Ceasefire Now campaign will continue to have my full support until it achieves its aim.