Two council leaders call for Starmer to resign over Gaza ceasefire stance

Politics

The leaders of two Labour councils in Lancashire are calling on Sir Keir Starmer to resign over his position on the conflict in the Middle East.

Council leaders in Burnley and Pendle have put pressure on the Labour leader over his decision not to push for a ceasefire in Gaza.

It follows calls from senior Labour figures London mayor Sadiq Khan, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, who broke ranks to also challenge Sir Keir’s stance.

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The Labour leader has remained united with Rishi Sunak, the US, and most recently the EU in pushing for “humanitarian pauses” in the fighting, while supporting Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas.

Burnley council leader Afrasiab Anwar said: “I and colleagues across Burnley over the last few weeks have seen the sad loss of people including young children in Palestine and Israel and this has to stop immediately.

“I joined the Labour Party because of the values of standing up and speaking out against injustices across the world. Sadly, Keir Starmer has not stood up for Labour values, hence why we are calling upon him to step down.

“Blindly following the position of Mr Sunak is not acceptable to us and our residents who we represent.”

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(L-R) Cllr Afrasiab Anwar and Cllr Asjad Mahmood. Pic: Burnley Council and Pendle Borough Council
Image:
(L-R) Cllr Afrasiab Anwar and Cllr Asjad Mahmood. Pic: Burnley Council and Pendle Borough Council

Pendle council leader, Asjad Mahmood, added Sir Keir had failed to listen to Labour members, urging for him to “resign to allow someone to lead our party who has compassion and speaks out against injustice and indiscriminate killing of innocent human beings”.

Sir Keir has been holding meetings within his party to address concerns over his position, and held talks with Muslim Labour MPs in parliament on 25 October.

They urged him during the “firm” exchange to back a ceasefire, believing the British public would support the move as well.

A senior Labour MP and shadow minister told Sky News: “It’s not surprising he’s been challenged.

“Hundreds of children are dying every day in Gaza and he still can’t call for a ceasefire. There goes his prime ministership.”

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