A PAIR of councillors in England have quit the Labour Party in protest over Keir Starmer vowing to continue Tory fiscal policies and "inaction" on Gaza.

Councillors Sean Halsall and Natasha Carlin – who both represent Sefton in Merseyside – have announced on Twitter/X they will be ditching their membership with the former insisting that change “will not come through the Labour Party” in a brutal indictment of the party’s direction just months away from a General Election.

Halsall insisted he no longer wanted to be “tied to an outdated whip system that holds us to ransom to toe the party line”, while Carlin slated the party for carrying on the “fiscal policies of the Tory Party” as well as “inaction” over Palestine.

It comes after 20 councillors in Lancashire resigned their membership in protest over the party’s leadership. It is understood this mass resignation was the largest defection under Starmer.

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In a statement, Halsall said: “After first being elected as a councillor in 2019 on a platform of genuinely transformative policies that would have given people the economic security so gravely needed, the Labour Party of 2024 feels a world away from the hope and genuine change that inspired me to campaign for the party.

“The positions of the national party now are so far away from those inspirational policies of 2017 and 2019 that got me involved in politics.

“I did not come into politics to support the two-child benefits cap. I did not enter politics to threaten disabled people into exploitative work. I didn’t come into this political party to fight to protect the status quo of working-class people being punished for the mistakes of the richest people in society.

“I will no longer be tied to an outdated whip system that holds us to ransom to toe the party line, a party line that stopped any expression on the conflict in Gaza, a line that has stagnated discussion on paying workers a proper wage for far too long.”

Several Labour councillors also resigned from the party before Christmas over Labour’s increasingly “right-wing rhetoric”.

Six councillors from Hastings Borough Council, including the council’s leader and deputy leader, announced their intention 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”.

Carlin, who has been a Labour activist for eight years, also cited in her statement the party’s attitude to veteran MP Diane Abbott.

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Abbott was suspended from the party almost a year ago for suggesting Jewish people are not subjected to the same racism as some other minorities and, despite apologising instantly, the whip has not yet been restored.

Last month, Abbott was not given a question in the House of Commons by Speaker Lindsay Hoyle despite standing up dozens of times amid revelations a Conservative donor had said she “should be shot”.

Carlin said: “I no longer feel the Labour Party represents the morals and principles that I live by, and I do not recognise the party as the one I joined in 2016.

“I didn’t come into politics to support a political party that has promised to carry on the fiscal policies of the Tory Party. I didn’t join the Labour Party to see the continuation of welfare austerity.

“I didn’t join politics to see inaction over Palestine, or the lack of support for the racism Diane Abbott has faced consistently.”

She added the party had supported “dehumanising policies” directed towards refugees and asylum seekers.