THE leaders of two Labour-led councils have called on Keir Starmer to “consider his position” as he maintains his refusal to back a ceasefire in Gaza.

In a statement released on Friday morning Afrasiab Anwar, the leader of Burnley Council, and Asjad Mahmood, the leader of neighbouring Pendle Borough Council, accused Starmer of lacking compassion.

A number of frontbench and backbench Labour MPs have already expressed support for a ceasefire however Starmer has maintained that Israel has a right to defend itself and instead issued a call for “humanitarian pauses” in the conflict.

However, Anwar and Mahmood stated that this fell wide of what should be expected from the leader of their party.

The statement read: “Leaders of Burnley and Pendle Labour groups have called upon Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to consider his position as leader of the party and step down to allow a leadership election.

“The call on behalf of Labour councillors in their respective areas follows hundreds of Labour councillors and MPs calling on the leader to put pressure on the Government to call for a ceasefire to prevent any further loss of innocent lives in Gaza.”

Councillor Anwar 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 Rishi Sunak is not acceptable to us and our residents who we represent.”

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf's family may escape Gaza today

Mahmood added: “I and my fellow labour colleagues have seen the distressing loss of lives on both sides of this conflict and have been putting pressure on the party leader to lead calls for a ceasefire to stop the innocent loss of lives.

“Unfortunately, he has failed to listen and 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”.

It comes after the Labour MP Andy McDonald was suspended from the Labour Party after officials said comments he made at a pro-Palestine rally were “deeply offensive”.