Twenty councillors quit Labour Party in protest

3 weeks ago 25

Councillor Mohammed Iqbal speaking to the BBC outside the town hall in Nelson

Image caption,

Councillor Mohammed Iqbal is among those to have resigned from his role

By Stuart Pollitt

BBC North West Today

Twenty Lancashire councillors have resigned their Labour memberships in protest over the party's leadership.

The councillors each sit on Pendle Borough Council, Nelson Town Council or Brierfield Town Council.

They claim Sir Keir Starmer's leadership no longer reflects their views and say they will now serve as independents.

The Labour Party said its focus was on winning the next general election.

The mass resignation is believed to be the largest defection under Sir Keir's leadership.

In November, 11 councillors quit the party in Burnley over his decision not to push for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Councillor Mohammed Iqbal, who is one of the 20 councillors to resign from the party, told BBC North West Today: "In the last few weeks there has been a culture developing from the national Labour Party that seems to want to control anything that any councillor wants to say."

He added: "The party nationally seems to want to control who can stand where and when. We don't think that's right so we have taken the difficult decision to resign."

A party spokesperson said: "The Labour Party's focus is on winning the general election so we can improve the lives of those we are elected to serve."

Four of the 20 councillors are set to stand for re-election in May.

Candidate lists will be available on council websites by 4pm on 8 April, according to the Electoral Commission.

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