Ministers faced calls from a succession of backbench MPs to support a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict in order to “end the bloodshed” in Gaza.
Labour and Conservative MPs urged the Government to back a ceasefire rather than humanitarian pauses it and the Labour frontbench favour.
Zarah Sultana, the Labour MP for Coventry South, urged ministers to “finally do what is right and demand an immediate ceasefire to end the bloodshed”.
She told the Commons: “More than 10,000 Palestinians have been slaughtered in Israel’s assault, nearly half of whom are children. It would take nearly six hours to read the names and ages of every child killed so far but this horror has been given the green light by this Government.
“So today I tabled an amendment to the King’s Speech calling for an immediate ceasefire, a move backed by 76% of the British public.”
The amendment to the King’s Speech debate was backed by leading figures from the Labour left, including John McDonnell and Rebecca Long-Bailey, as well as former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
It claims the legislative agenda set out in the speech “fails to include measures to ensure the Government upholds international humanitarian law and protect civilians in Israel and Palestine”.
Ms Sultana said: “I ask the minister: will the Government finally do what is right and demand an immediate ceasefire to end the bloodshed?”
Foreign Office minister Andrew Mitchell said: “While she is eloquent on the effects, she is not so eloquent, in my opinion, on the causes.
“In respect of the amendment which she has tabled, of course that is a matter for the House but it will not be supported by the Government nor by her own frontbench.”
Labour MP for Bradford West Naz Shah, meanwhile, wiped at her eyes with a tissue in the Commons shortly after telling MPs of the plight of children in Gaza and calling on the UK to “ramp up its effort to end the bloodshed”.
Ms Shah, who is a shadow Home Office minister but was speaking from the backbenches, said “every day we see footage of heartbreaking stories” of children in Gaza.
The MP was emotional as she described footage of children caught up in the conflict, some believing they had died and others preparing for death, others holding a press conference “to call on the world to let them live”.
Paul Bristow, the Tory MP for Peterborough recently sacked as a ministerial aide after calling for a ceasefire, spoke about a constituent from Gaza who has lost contact with his family after their home in the Palestinian territory was destroyed.
He said: “How much longer do we have to wait until this suffering ends and humanitarian aid can reach people like my constituent’s family?”
Meanwhile, Conservative MP for Bolton North East Mark Logan said his Muslim constituents have felt “very aggrieved over the last month”.
He said: “My constituents through the Bolton Council of Mosques have called repeatedly for ceasefires. I will be meeting them again tomorrow night. I would just like to see from our Government’s perspective what criteria would have to be met to call for a ceasefire.”
There was no direct answer from Mr Mitchell but the minister earlier agreed Hamas has “no intention” of engaging in a ceasefire.
Conservative former cabinet minister David Davis told the Commons: “Those who call for a ceasefire must recognise that Hamas is a terrorist organisation and, as was said by (DUP MP Sammy Wilson) yesterday, terrorist organisations only go to ceasefires when they suit their own regrouping – not to end violence.”
Mr Mitchell said: “He is absolutely right and for those who call for a ceasefire, of course we all recognise the motivation and why they are doing it. But at this time, in this situation, it is perfectly clear that Hamas has no intention of engaging in a ceasefire.
“Indeed, they have repeatedly made clear that their intention is to repeat the awful events of October 7. So, I agree entirely with his understanding and his prediction of the situation.”