Council leader and 10 councillors quit Labour Party over Starmer’s Gaza ceasefire stance

Politics

The leader of Burnley Council and 10 other councillors have resigned from the Labour Party this evening over Sir Keir Starmer’s decision not to push for a ceasefire in Gaza, Sky News understands.

Afrasiab Anwar, who has been in the party for 10 years, was among those calling for the leader to step down on Thursday.

In a statement, they said: “It has become apparent that Keir Starmer and the leadership either cannot or will not heed our concerns or acknowledge the sentiments within our communities.”

It added: “In response to our calls for him to resign he responded that the individual concerns of members are not his focus, further illustrating that he does not value the voice of the grassroots of the party.”

The leader of Pendle Council, which is also in Lancashire, also called on Sir Keir to resign on Thursday.

It came after 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.

Sir Keir 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.

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