Sir Keir Starmer said calls for a ceasefire are not currently the “correct position” and he believed “humanitarian pauses” are the “only credible approach” to alleviate suffering in Gaza. 

The Labour leader also said that a ceasefire would only serve to “embolden” Hamas. 

He said: “While I understand calls for a ceasefire at this stage, I do not believe that it is the correct position now for two reasons. 

“One, because a ceasefire always freezes any conflict in the state where it currently lies. And as we speak that would leave Hamas with the infrastructure and the capability to carry out the sort of attack we saw on October 7.”

He added: “Hamas would be emboldened and start preparing for future violence immediately. And it is this context which explains my second reason which is that our current calls for pauses in the fighting for clear and specific humanitarian purposes and which must start immediately is right in practice as well as principle. 

“In fact it is at this moment the only credible approach that has any chance of achieving what we all want to see in Gaza, the urgent alleviation of Palestinian suffering, aid distributed quickly, space to get hostages out.”

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