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Six Walsall Labour councillors, including group leader, resign over Starmer's Gaza conflict stance

Six Labour councillors have resigned from the Labour party in Walsall over the party's stance over Gaza.

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Resigned: The leader of the Labour group Councillor Aftab Nawaz

The leader of the Labour group Councillor Aftab Nawaz at the Conservative run authority announced they were resigning due to leader Sir Keir Starmer's stance on the conflict.

Resigning alongside Walsall Labour group leader Councillor Nawaz were Sabina Ditta, Naheed Gultasib, Farhana Hassan, Saiqa Nasreen and Abdus Nazir.

In a letter to the West Midlands Labour Charlotte Walker, the six resigning councillors said: "We are saddened to inform you that we will be resigning from the Labour Party immediately due to Keir Starmer refusing to back and vote for a ceasefire in Gaza.

"The vote on Wednesday was an opportunity to take a humanitarian position that we would expect from the leader of the Labour Party. Unfortunately, Keir Starmer had instructed Labour MPs not to support the ceasefire amendment to the King’s speech and did not vote for it himself.

"The situation in Gaza is a humanitarian catastrophe and requires leaders to show moral courage and a moral leadership that demands that the killing stops. In not calling for a ceasefire we feel that the Party Leadership has lost its moral compass and is stubbornly maintaining a position that at best is indifferent to the killing of innocents and at worst is approving of the tactics of the Israeli Forces."

Last night Yardley Labour MP Jess Phillips stood down from the Shadow Cabinet due to the issue.

The resigning Walsall councillors commended her, they said: "The Labour Party we joined is better than this and we have been let down. We commend the courageous action taken by the shadow cabinet members who have voted for the ceasefire.

"The Leadership’s refusal to accept that this is a matter of conscience and sacking them, is a disgrace. Actions speak louder than words and it is for this reason that we have taken the decision to step down from the Labour Party in protest at Keir Starmer’s handling of this crisis and his refusal to demand a ceasefire."