LABOUR have lost majority control of a third English council after five members quit the party to stand as independents.

Five members of Norfolk County Council quit on Tuesday night in a dramatic move that left the authority without a majority group.

The councillors cited both local and national concerns and said that the party no longer “matches the overriding principles that guide our work”.

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It comes after Labour lost majority control of both Oxford and Burnley local authorities due to the Westminster party’s stance on Israel and Palestine.

In Norwich, Emma Corlett, deputy Labour group leader at Norfolk County Council, Cate Oliver cabinet member for wellbeing and culture at City Hall, Karen Davis, Rachel Everett and Ian Stutely were the members who resigned on mass.

The move means Labour no longer has majority control of Norwich City Council, but it remains the largest group.

In a statement, the members told a Local Democracy reporter: “After long and careful consideration we have made the heartbreaking decision to leave the Labour Party and become independent councillors.

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“There are many reasons, but in essence we no longer consider the current national and local Labour Party matches the overriding principles that guide our work as Town Close councillors.

“We will relentlessly focus on standing up for Town Close residents and our work in the community that makes a difference.

“We will be making no further comment at this time.”

Before the move Labour held 23 seats on the city council, the Green Party 13 seats and the Liberal Democrats three seats. The make-up is now Labour 19, Greens 13, independents four, and Liberal Democrats three.

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Steve Morphew, leader of the Labour group at County Hall, said Corlett’s departure was disappointing but stressed her dispute was not with the county group.

He said: “We will continue to work hard for the interest of Norfolk with or without Emma.”

It comes after Labour lost control of two other local authorities in England over its stance on Gaza.

In Burnley, a council leader and 10 Labour councillors quit over Keir Starmer’s decision not to push for a ceasefire.

In a statement, they said their memberships were “untenable”. Burnley Council leader Afrasiab Anwar was joined by nine other Burnley councillors and Lancashire County councillor Usman Arif, who will now sit as independents.

Before their resignations, the Labour group had 22 out of 45 seats on the local authority, with the party remaining the largest group after the announcement.

In Oxford, nine councillors resigned from Labour in October again forcing Labour to lose their majority on the local authority.

All of those who stepped down did so while calling for Starmer to back a ceasefire.

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Councillor Barbara Coyne, whose resignation led to the party losing its majority, said the party leadership was issuing “hollow statements” while watching genocide unfold.

"I have resigned from the party because I can no longer stand with a leadership that claims to value international law, human rights and equality, but will not condemn clear violations of these by Israel, and call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza,” she said at the time.

It comes after 56 MPs rebelled against Starmer by backing an SNP amendment to the King’s Speech calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

The rebels included eight frontbenchers who defied the leadership. But, Scotland’s two Labour MPs backed the party line, with Rutherglen and Hamilton West parliamentarian Michael Shanks being promoted to the frontbench shortly after, just two weeks after his maiden speech.