SEVERAL Labour councillors have resigned their whip over the party's increasingly "right-wing rhetoric", spelling more trouble for Keir Starmer.

Six councillors from Hastings Borough Council, including the council’s leader and deputy leader, announced their resignations from the Labour Party on Friday to form an independent group, saying Labour “no longer provides us with the policies, the support or the focus on local government that we need”.

The councillors cited the Labour Party’s policy on Gaza, a lack of support for workers, and the party’s increasing use of right-wing rhetoric, as reasons for leaving.

READ MORE: Scottish weapons factory urged to stop providing arms to Israel

The statement reads: “After long and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision today to leave the Labour Party and become independent councillors.

“There are many reasons, but our view is that standing up for Hastings, and especially for our residents, will be much easier as independents.

“The national Labour Party no longer provides us with the policies, the support or the focus on local government that we need given the many local issues we are committed to tackling.

“We will now concentrate on standing up for Hastings, working in partnership with all those who are passionate about driving our town forward, and our work in our communities, which is why we all became councillors.

“We will not be making any further comment as a group until the New Year.”

The councillors who have formed the Hastings Independent Group are council leader Paul Barnett, deputy leader Maya Evans, and cabinet members Andy Batsford, John Cannan, Ali Roark and Simon Willis.

Evans, also the council’s cabinet member for regeneration and climate change, said she was “humbled and inspired” by local residents but that “the Labour Party has moved away from many of its core values and principles.”

Evans continued: “To woo the Tory vote the Labour Party has lost its way, leaning into right wing policies and rhetoric which has become increasingly difficult to publicly justify and support.”

READ MORE: Allowing asylum seekers to work 'could add £30 million to Scotland's economy'

“I understand that Labour’s current election strategy is to mirror the Tories, and although I want rid of the current abhorrent Government, I cannot continue to volunteer hundreds of hours to an organisation which no longer represents working people, no longer stands up for the persecuted and oppressed, and no longer has a vision to radically improve life for a huge portion of society who are on low incomes, marginalised and vulnerable.

“Labour’s policy position on Gaza has been completely unforgiveable, from not supporting a ceasefire, to silencing politicians from speaking out, expelling an MP, unofficially instructing councillors not to attend peace marches, and enforcing a three-line whip which led to the resignation of 10 Labour MP shadow ministers.

“To date 18,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, 7000 of which were children. To stay silent is to not support humanity.”

Cabinet member Cannan, also chair of the council’s charity committee, said he “wouldn’t join the Labour Party as it presents and operates today”.

The councillors also condemned the Labour Party for allegedly blocking people of colour from leadership positions.

Willis, cabinet member for housing and homelessness, said colleagues had been “terribly treated” and reflected “a level of Kafkaesque inhumanity”.

Willis said: “Most painfully, I do not regard it as coincidence that nearly all the local members who have been barred from running locally or nationally or who have been suspended or expelled from the party are black, brown or Jewish - and mostly women.

“In each case the grounds given have been starkly spurious, not just by conflating criticisms of the state of Israel with antisemitism but, in several cases, by referring to events or bans that post-dated the alleged offences by years.

“This is not just injustice, it is a level of Kafkaesque inhumanity that sits very oddly beside the traditional values of the party I joined.”

This comes as another councillor for Hastings Borough Council quit the Conservative Party in October, citing an increasingly right-wing rhetoric for his decision.

John Rankin, who now sits as an independent, said the Conservatives had “become more right wing and adopted policies which were anti-business and authoritarian.”