Foreign AffairsSpeeches

Stephen Flynn – 2023 Speech on Israel and Gaza

The speech made by Stephen Flynn, the SNP Leader at Westminster, in the House of Commons on 16 October 2023.

Rabbie Burns once poignantly wrote that

“Man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn!”

It is with those words echoing in all our hearts that we send our thoughts and prayers to all those suffering in the middle east. The abhorrent terrorist attack by Hamas on the Jewish people and the Israeli state was a crime against our common humanity, and it must be condemned unequivocally. What more powerful response can we have than to seek to protect the shared innocence and shared humanity of both Israeli and Palestinian civilians?

That will require a lot. It will require the defeat of Hamas; it will require the safe return of all those hostages who have been taken; it will require the opening of humanitarian corridors, so that people can escape Gaza and aid can get in; and it will require medicine, water and electricity for hospitals, so that people who are injured can be treated. It will require no collective punishment. Making all of that happen will require international leadership and diplomacy. On these isles, that responsibility will fall to the UK Prime Minister, and I very much wish him well in making that happen.

Right across this Chamber, we all need to be very conscious that history will judge us on our response not just to these abhorrent attacks but to the humanitarian crisis that is undoubtedly unfolding in Gaza. Let us not be on the wrong side of history.

The Prime Minister

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his remarks, and I agree that this crisis demands that the United Kingdom steps up diplomatically to make a difference—to bring about peace and stability. That is what we have done over the past week, as I alluded to in my statement. The Foreign Secretary was the first person to visit Israel and has spoken to multiple counterparts. In the same vein, I myself have been working with allies across the region to make sure that we can work together to bring about a successful and peaceful resolution. We also recognise the scale of the humanitarian situation that is unfolding and are playing a leading role in helping to alleviate it, not least with our announcement today of considerably more aid for the Palestinian territories, building on our strong track record as one of the leading providers of aid to the region. That will continue.