The MP for Eastleigh has explained why he voted against a motion calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Paul Holmes said his decision to vote against it was one he did "not take lightly".

In a public statement, the Conservative MP said: “The loss of innocent lives in Israel due to the barbaric terror attacks on October 7 and the subsequent deaths of civilians on both sides was and is horrific.

“To all those who have messaged me over the past month, I completely share your wish to see the bloodshed stop.

“But Hamas has publicly stated they will continue their October-style attacks until Israel is annihilated, and Israel has made clear that their military operation will continue until all hostages have been freed.

“Therefore, it is the case that a vote in our Parliament calling for a ceasefire will not bring one about.

“And so though I did not vote for the amendment laid yesterday, I must say that this vote must not be seen as a blank cheque for Israel to continue to conduct its operations without due scrutiny.”

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He added: “I have spoken to many colleagues who share this view that a huge degree of care should be taken to protect innocent lives and minimise civilian casualties. Humanitarian aid must get to the innocents who need it, and Israel must cease bombing areas where civilians are present.

“While Hamas uses civilians as hostages and human shields, Israel must work to save and protect them.”

The motion put forward by the SNP condemned Hamas’ ‘horrific’ killings and called for ‘all parties to agree to an immediate ceasefire’.

No Conservative MPs backed the motion.

A total of 294 members of parliament voted against it, while 125 voted for it.

Royston Smith, MP for Southampton Itchen, and Caroline Nokes, MP for Romsey and Southampton North, were among those who voted no. 

More than 220 MPs abstained from voting, including Southampton Test MP Alan Whitehead. 

Labour's amendment calling for longer ‘humanitarian pauses’ also did not pass, with MPs voting 290 to 183 to reject it.