Keir Starmer‘s Gaza storm deepened today as a poll showed barely a quarter of Labour voters back his handling of the crisis – and another 11 councillors quit. 

YouGov research found just 27 per cent of those who intended to support the party at a general election approved of Sir Keir’s performance.

The figures emerged as the leader of Burnley Council quit alongside 10 other colleagues after Sir Keir dismissed demands to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Instead the Labour leadership has stuck to the line taken by the government and US, that there should be ‘humanitarian pauses’ to let aid and medical treatments reach Palestinians.

Grilled after a speech on Friday, Sir Keir argued that Israel had a right to defend itself after the horrific terror attacks of October 7 – and insisted that Labour was united, despite more than a dozen frontbenchers voicing concerns about the stance. 

Mr Anwar last week issued a joint call, along with Asjad Mahmood – a Pendle Borough councillor, for Sir Keir to change position or stand aside.

Keir Starmer has been under fire for weeks over his stance on a ceasefire in Gaza

Afrasiab Anwar, who has been part of the Labour party for 10 years, called for Sir Keir to resign following a weeks-long furore over his position on the Israel-Hamas war

11 councillors, including Burnley Council's leader, tonight resigned from the Labour party

11 councillors, including Burnley Council’s leader, tonight resigned from the Labour party 

Councillor Afrasiab Anwar and the Burnley group issued a statement overnight saying: ‘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.

‘Every life holds equal value and indiscriminate bombing and collective punishment of innocent civilians is a clear violation of international law. 

‘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.’

‘Regrettably, after exhausting every available option, we have arrived at the conclusion that the current party stance does not align with the values we hold dear. 

‘We cannot remain in a party that is not doing enough whilst innocent people are being killed in Gaza and Israel.’ 

Mr Anwar, who represents the Bank Hall constituency of Burnley, separately said: ‘I and colleagues across Burnley over the last few weeks have seen the sad loss of people including young children in Palestine and Israel and this has to stop immediately.

‘I joined the Labour Party because of the values of standing up and speaking out against injustices across the world. Sadly, Keir Starmer has not stood up for Labour values, hence why we are calling upon him to step down.

‘Blindly following the position of Mr Sunak is not acceptable to us and our residents who we represent.’ 

The leader of Pendle Borough Council Mr Mahmood previously said Sir Keir ‘unfortunately failed to listen’ to calls to back a ceasefire in Gaza to ‘stop the innocent loss of life.’

‘We ask he consider his position and resign to allow someone to lead our party who has compassion and speaks out against injustice and indiscriminate killing of innocent human beings.’

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