Burnley Labour Group appoint new leader following 10 resignations over Gaza conflict

Burnley’s Labour group has issued a statement following the shock resignations of its leader and nine other councillors over the ongoing Gaza conflict.
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As revealed in the Burnley Express, Burnley Council’s Labour leader Coun. Afrasiab Anwar and nine other councillors have resigned from the Labour Party over Sir Keir Starmer's decision not to push for a ceasefire in Gaza.

The 10 councillors described their memberships as “untenable” given the leadership's refusal to demand a ceasefire in the Middle East, and will now stand as independents on the council.

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Burnley Labour Group has now appointed former leader Coun. Mark Townsend as its new leader.

New Burnley Labour leader Coun. Mark TownsendNew Burnley Labour leader Coun. Mark Townsend
New Burnley Labour leader Coun. Mark Townsend

He said: “What the council needs now is stability and certainty. The Labour Group will work constructively with the newly independent council leader to continue the delivery of resident priorities and services across all the communities of Burnley and Padiham.”

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A statement from the group added: “In Burnley and Padiham - after 13 years of Conservative Government, a Conservative Member of Parliament representing us in Westminster, and a Conservative County Council - people are crying out for change.

“Labour stands for a fresh start for our area. We’re working night and day on resident priorities; fighting to get more money in people's pockets during the Cost of Living Crisis, and working to deliver good services for Burnley and Padiham - cleaner streets, good quality housing, stronger communities and opportunities for all.

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“The events of the last few weeks have proven to be a highly emotional time, and while we are disappointed obviously to have lost colleagues and friends from the Labour Group on Burnley Council, we know this decision has not been taken lightly. Let us be clear, we hold no ill will to the newly independent councillors and sincerely wish them well in serving their residents.

“As Labour people, as mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, we all want an end to the violence and for there to be a just and lasting peace.

“For Burnley and Padiham, Labour proudly stands up for working people, for fairness, justice, equality and opportunities for all. We want our towns and villages to face the future with confidence and security, where everyone can reach their full potential.”