'A humanitarian pause is “not good enough'
Two Labour Party council leaders are demanding that Keir Starmer resign over his stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict, as dissent in the party continues to grow over the leader’s position.
Burnley Council leader Afrasiab Anwar and Asjad Mahmood, who is the leader of Pendle Borough Council, said they were making the call on behalf of Labour councillors in their areas.
Starmer has resisted calls for a ceasefire from within his own party, including from members of his shadow cabinet as well as from the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham. The Labour leader said that the terrorist group would be “emboldened” by a ceasefire, three weeks after it killed 1,400 people in Israel.
More than 30 councillors have resigned from the party in protest against Starmer’s position, and now Anwar and Mahmood have called for Starmer’s resignation.
Mahmood said his party leader has “failed to listen” and called on him to “resign to allow someone to lead our party who has compassion and speaks out against injustice”.
Anwar said a humanitarian pause is “not good enough”.
He said: “What we feel should be happening is that the leader of the opposition should in the least be applying pressure on the Prime Minister, on the Government, to call for a ceasefire and a release of all hostages.
He added: “The reason that a humanitarian pause is not good enough is because obviously the aid will get in but then the bombing, the attacks will start again. What we’re seeing is that these innocent civilians have got nowhere to escape to.”
The intervention of the two council leaders also comes as a new poll for Savanta of Labour Party councillors shows that only 37% of Labour local representatives are ‘satisfied’ with the party’s position on the conflict, with 43% dissatisfied.