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Every Labour councillor in Pendle quits the party

LABOUR has disappeared as a representative force in the east Lancashire borough of Pendle after every elected councillor quit the party.

All 10 Labour members serving on Pendle Borough Council resigned on Monday, as did a further 10 from the town councils of Nelson and Brierfield, two of the communities in the district.

The councillors cited national party bullying and interference as reasons for resigning, although several are already on record as denouncing Labour’s position on the Gaza crisis.

Council leader Asjad Mahmood, who will lead the newly formed independent group, said: “I have always felt that the party’s policies were aligned with my own beliefs.

“Sadly, over a recent period, senior party officials have attempted to impose their ideas at a local level. I was elected to serve the public, not party officials.”

Cllr Yvonne Tennant said that “at a time when 14 years of Tory cuts are affecting local people across Pendle, the Labour Party leadership should be allowing local hard-working councillors the opportunity to challenge the Tories,” instead of hindering them.

Her colleague Mohammed Iqbal added: “Senior figures within the party are attempting to stifle free speech and threaten dedicated councillors with removal as candidates.

“I cannot stand by and allow this to happen. The bullying needs to stop.”

It is understood that Labour’s national leadership was trying to prevent some of the councillors from standing for re-election for the party. They will all now sit as independents.

Well over 100 councillors have left Labour since the onset of the Gaza genocide, but this is the largest mass resignation yet and the only one to include every elected local representative.

Many have rallied to a “no ceasefire, no vote” initiative aimed at amplifying their efforts. 

Last year, Mr Mahmood called on Sir Keir Starmer to resign as Labour leader to “allow someone to lead our party who has compassion and speaks out against injustice and indiscriminate killing of innocent human beings.”

The party has now lost control of five councils since October, including Burnley, Hastings, Norwich and Oxford.

A Momentum spokesman commented: “Keir Starmer’s authoritarian, anti-democratic approach to internal party affairs is costing Labour councils, councillors and members.

“Coming days after it was announced another 25,000 members have quit Labour, this is further evidence that the leadership is alienating vast swathes of our party’s core support.”

Labour national campaign co-ordinator Pat McFadden said: “If someone takes the decision to leave, that is something to be regretted.”

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