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  1. Home Office questions in the House of Commons began at 2.30pm, followed by statements to the House.
  2. MPs heard statements on the Ebola virus and on further devolution to Scotland.
  3. The main business was a backbench business debate on recognition of Palestinian statehood
  4. MPs voted overwhelmingly to back a call for the government to recognise Palestine as a state.

Live Reporting

By Pippa Simm and Sam Francis

All times stated are UK

Wrap up

That wraps up our live text coverage of today's proceedings in the House of Commons. To recap, this evening MPs voted overwhelmingly to back a motion calling on the government to recognise Palestine as a state, following a four-and-a-quarter hour debate. There were also government statements

on the Ebola outbreak and on
Scottish devolution, as well as an hour-long
question session with Home Secretary Theresa May.

Adjournment debate

The short debate on ferries to the Isle of Wight - led by Conservative MP Andrew Turner - has concluded, and the House of Commons adjourns for the day. MPs return at 11.30 BST tomorrow, when there will be a general debate on Scottish devolution.

Adjournment debate

Transport Minister John Hayes is responding to Andrew Turner MP in the adjournment debate on ferries to the Isle of Wight.

Adjournment debate

Business in the Commons has turned to an adjournment debate on ferries to the Isle of Wight, led by the island's MP, Andrew Turner.

Adjournment debates are introduced by a backbench MP at the end of each day's business in the Commons, and normally last for half-an-hour.


The Commons vote to back the recognition of the state of Palestine is not binding on the government. It would not change government policy, but it could have international implications.

Point of Order

Labour backbencher Jeremy Corbyn raises a point of order to explain that he and fellow Labour MP Mike Wood acted as tellers for the Noes - despite actually supporting the motion - so that the "historic" vote could take place, because opponents of the motion "were declined to put in tellers and thus there would be no recorded vote otherwise".

Motion passed

MPs vote overwhelmingly in favour of a motion calling on the government to recognise Palestine as a state.

The House voted by 274 to 12 to adopt the motion, which states that "this House believes that the government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel".

It was amended to include the words "as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution".

Voting times

Votes typically tend to take about 15 minutes in the House of Commons, as MPs file through the 'Aye' or 'No' lobbies to register their vote. There must be four 'tellers' who count the votes during a division and then announce the result to the Speaker on the floor of the House. Today, the tellers for the 'ayes' (ie those in support of the motion) are Labour MP Alex Cunningham and Conservative MP Crispin Blunt, and for those against the motion it is Labour MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Mike Wood.


MPs are now voting on the main motion which states that "this House believes that the government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel". It has been amended to add the words "as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution".

Palestine debate

Grahame Morris - the Labour MP who tabled today's motion - is wrapping up the debate in the closing minutes of the debate. He thanks all those who have contributed and impresses on the minister to "please reflect on what's been said", adding that "the will of Parliament has spoken tonight".

Palestine debate

Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams has the floor, and voices his party's support for the motion. "We have a responsibility to seize this opportunity and to wield our influence, as a permanent member of the Security Council, as a member of the Quartet and as the imperial power historically responsible for the mandate," the Arfon MP tells the chamber.

Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams

Palestine debate

Diane Abbott, the Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, stresses that to disagree with the Israeli government does not make a person "anti-Israel". She says it is "absurd" and "disingenuous" for opponents of the motion to argue that it undermines peace negotiations, arguing that "the time for justice for the Palestinians has come".

Palestine debate

Adding his voice to calls for Palestine to be recognised as a state, Conservative Crispin Blunt says that to pass the motion will give the Palestinians "some moral and legal authority" for their position. He criticises Israel's approach to peace negotiations, claiming that in recent years it has become clear that Israeli politicians "have avoided the opportunity to deliver a settlement".

Palestine debate

The Conservatives' Robert Jenrick, who joined the House of Commons as the Newark MP in June, says he will not support the motion, arguing that he has not heard a convincing case that it will increase the prospect of a lasting settlement in the Middle East. Mr Jenrick - who declared at the start of his speech that his wife is Israeli-born - tells MPs: "I want to see a well-thought out strategy to end this conflict. I don't think this is the time for gestures."

Palestine debate

"It is time to recognise a Palestinian state," says the Labour MP for West Ham, Lyn Brown. Party colleague Nia Griffiths makes a brief intervention to assert that UK recognition of a Palestine state would give a "tremendous boost" to moderate Palestinians and "strengthen their voice" amongst the international community.

Palestine debate

Andrew Griffiths, the Conservative MP for Burton, notes a "shift in the tone" of the debate which should "worry the government of Israel because it is clearly losing the moral high ground when it comes to the people in Gaza and the Palestinian issue". He says he recognises Israel's "right to defend itself" but argues that its response to Hamas-fired rockets has not been "proportionate to the threat".

Palestine debate

The SNP's Stewart Hosie endorses the backbench motion, telling MPs: "The time for excuses are over, we should recognise Palestine today."

Palestine debate

There's just under an hour and a half left in this debate - with many MPs still wanting to take part. The current time limit on backbench contributes is four minutes. The vote is expected at 22.00 BST.

Palestine debate

Liberal Democrat Mike Hancock insists that "there is not a single thing that will harm Israel" if the motion is passed by MPs tonight.

Palestine debate

Explaining Labour's support for recognition of a Palestine state, Ian Lucas argues that it will "strengthen the moderate voices among the Palestinians who want to pursue the path of politics, not the path of violence".

The shadow minister urges the government to listen to the Commons and give the Palestinians their "right" of statehood.

"This is not an alternative to negotiations, it is a bridge for beginning them," he concludes.

Palestine statment

Setting out the opposition's position, shadow foreign minister Ian Lucas indicates that Labour will support the motion "because it reflects our long-standing support for the principle of recognition of Palestinian statehood". The party's front bench will also support the amendment in the name of Jack Straw MP, he adds.

Palestine debate

Deputy Commons Speaker Eleanor Laing announces that the time limit for backbench speeches has been cut to four minutes, in light of the number of MPs wishing to take part in the debate.

Palestine debate

Tobias Ellwood says the UK Government is a "staunch supporter" of Israel's right to defend itself - but adds that its settlement building makes "it hard for Israel's friends to make the case that Israel is committed to peace". The minister says Palestinian statehood can only become a reality when occupation ends, and stresses that the UK believes "this will only come through negotiations". He adds: "The UK will bilaterally recognise a Palestinian state when we judge that it can best help bring about the peace."

Palestine debate

Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood says the Gaza ceasefire is "no substitute for peace" and adds that there must be urgent progress towards a state-solution that meets both Israeli and Palestinian aspirations. He says the UK will "continue to take a leading role" in working with international partners to support US efforts. "A just and lasting peace will require leadership by all sides" which includes a return to dialogue between the two sides, Mr Ellwood adds.

Palestine debate

Speaking on behalf of the government, Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood - who served as a British Army officer in the Middle East - tells MPs the recent conflict in Gaza left "more than 100,000 people" homeless and a third of the population without access to water. Mr Ellwood says it was the third time in six years that conflict broke out there, and emphasises that there can be no return to the status quo.

Palestine debate

Democratic Unionist MP Ian Paisley says the motion, while "well-intentioned", would "do the wrong thing at the wrong time". He cautions against "pouring fuel on already burning flames" by recognising Palestinian statehood now when there are "strong elements within the Palestinian negotiation process that do not even recognise Israel and would not allow that state to exist".

Ian Paisley

Palestine debate

Current UK government policy is that it "reserves the right to recognise a Palestinian state bilaterally at the moment of our choosing and when it can best help bring about peace".

Palestine debate

Today's debate and vote comes amid moves elsewhere in Europe to recognise Palestine officially. Sweden has announced its intention to officially recognise Palestine, with more than 100 other countries having done so.

Palestine debate

Opposing the motion, Conservative MP Matthew Offord criticises the proposal as "premature and misguided". He accuses the proposers of the motion of "turning their backs on the peace process".

Intervening, Tory Sir Edward Leigh suggests Mr Offord is reading from "an Israeli Government hand out" - which the MP fiercely denies.

Mr Offord concludes by arguing that peace must be achieved through "negotiation and mutual agreement" between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, "not through unilateral moves or pre-emptive recognition".

Palestine debate

Liberal Democrat MP David Ward says he understands the "sense of insecurity" many Israelis feel, but does not understand "why the Palestinians should have had to pay such a terrible price for the creation of a state of Israel."

Explaining his support for the motion, the Bradford East MP says the Palestinians need hope "to turn away from the men of violence".

Palestine debate

Senior Conservative Sir Nicholas Soames also lends his support to the motion, telling MPs the status quo is "untenable" and "wholly unacceptable".

"It would be shameful not to take the step of recognition now when it would make a real difference," the Mid Sussex MP argues.

Palestine debate

Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman believes it would be a "game changer" if parliament passed the motion. He tells MPs: "The recognition of Palestine by the House of Commons will affect the international situation. This House can create a historic new situation and I call on members on both sides of the House to give the Palestinians their rights and show the Israelis that they cannot suppress another people all the time."

Palestine debate

Former Labour Foreign Secretary Jack Straw says his amendment to the motion would "add to the pressure for a negotiated two-state solution" - and suggests the Israeli Government is "worried" about the resolution passing. The Blackburn MP says the Palestinians had "no say" over the creation of a state of Israel and argues that Israel should have no "veto" over a state of Palestine.

Jack Straw MP

Palestine debate

"It is only through recognition that Palestinians can be given the dignity and hope they need to engage in further peace negotiations and live in a country they can properly call their own," former Conservative minister Alan Duncan tells the Commons, as he condemns "illegal" Israeli settlements.

Palestine debate

Sir Richard Ottaway, the Foreign Affairs Committee chair, recites the history of the creation of the state of Israel, which "has been fighting for its existence ever since".

Sir Richard says he has been a "friend of Israel" long before he became a Conservative MP and stood by the country through "thick and thin". But such is his "anger" at the Israeli Government's recent annexation of "950 acres of the West Bank" he will not be opposing the motion, he reveals.

Mr Ottaway adds that he is not yet convinced that Palestine is ready to be a state and says it should only be recognised once a peace agreement is achieved.

Palestine debate

Concluding his remarks, Grahame Morris says a vote in favour of Palestinian statehood will send a message that the UK regards both Palestinians and Israelis "as equal in dignity and in rights; not just in death, but in life too".

Palestine debate

"Recognition is not an Israeli bargaining chip. It is a Palestinian right. One that has to form the basis of any serious negotiation," says Grahame Morris during the backbench debate in the Commons.

The Labour MP says it is the "systematic denial of rights that incites violence and emboldens those who reject politics" - as he appeals for MPs to back the motion calling on the UK to recognise a state of Palestine.

'Important step'

Grahame Morris tells MPs that they have a "historic opportunity to take a small but symbolically important step" by voting in favour of the motion.

MPs' vote

Mr Morris says recognition of the state of Palestine is the "only way forward".

Conservative Cheryl Gillan intervenes to point out that more than 300 Israeli figures signed a letter urging Parliament to vote in favour of the motion.

Palestine debate

The motion states that "this House believes that the government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel".

Opening the debate, Grahame Morris, the Labour MP for Easington says he is happy to accept an amendment which adds a clause with the words "as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution".