The leader of Burnley Council and a group of 10 councillors have resigned from the Labour Party due to Sir Keir Starmer’s refusal to push for a ceasefire in Gaza. Afrasiab Anwar, a long-standing party member, found it a tough decision to leave Labour. The departing councillors cited the party leadership’s failure to demand a Middle East ceasefire as the reason for their exit.
In a joint statement, they criticised Sir Keir for not valuing the voices of the party’s grassroots, referring to remarks he made following a speech in the North East. While Labour supported the UK government’s call for a temporary pause in hostilities to aid Palestinians in Gaza, the councillors viewed this stance as nonsensical, notimg-align-ing with the sentiments in their communities. They urged the party to return to its core values of advocating for social justice.
These resignations were not isolated incidents; the leader of Pendle Council in Lancashire also called on Sir Keir to resign. In addition, prominent Labour figures, including London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Scottish Labour Leader Anas Sarwar, and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, expressed dissent against Sir Keir’s position on the matter.