It was a difficult and emotional week in Parliament as MPs faced a series of votes on the terrible situation in Israel and Gaza.

We Liberal Democrats tabled an amendment to the King’s Speech that we hoped could have enabled Parliament to speak with one voice. 

Crucially our amendment called for a two-state solution, an immediate bilateral ceasefire and an agreement that Hamas should not be in charge of Gaza - language that had buy-in from Lib Dem Friends of Israel and Lib Dem friends of Palestine. 

Sadly, though, the Liberal Democrat amendment was not selected for a vote and the two that were had a polarising effect. 

Ahead of the votes, some MPs - myself included - attended private briefings: one to hear testimony from Palestinian families whose relatives have been killed in Gaza, the other to watch video footage taken from the body cameras of Hamas terrorists who killed Israelis on October 7. Both were heart-breaking and gut-wrenching.  

Around Parliament, the mood was sombre. Some MPs walked out of the briefings saying they thought they would be sick, many had tears in their eyes. 

With minds focussed on the horrors of war, MPs reached across the political divide to offer each other a gentle reassuring touch on the arm or make a friendly enquiry to check how each other were holding up. 

Sadly, these small acts of kindness weren’t reflected in the formal debate which instead was underpinned by political posturing. 

I, like most people, just want all the death and destruction in Israel and Gaza to stop. I want all the hostages to be freed, for aid to reach all those who need it. 

I feel bitterly disappointed that parliament as a whole failed to find the language to speak with one voice to say this. 

It would be dangerous to overstate the power of any one vote in Parliament on this matter and we should not seek to grandstand. 

But I believe that we all need to recognise that working towards a lasting peace and a two-state solution is the only way to guarantee the dignity and security that both Palestinians and Israelis deserve. 

Meanwhile I know that many people in St Albans are feeling an acute and overwhelming sense of grief, horror and loss.

Where Parliament has so far failed, I hope so much that our community can continue to find and use the language of our shared humanity.