Seven Labour councillors have now resigned from the Labour Party in Blackburn over the party’s refusal to condemn the bombing of Gaza.

Audley and Queen’s Park councillor Salim Sidat was the latest to quit and joins Cllr Suleman Khonat, Cllr Adbul Patel, Cllr Mustafa Desai, Cllr Saj Ali, Samim Desai and Cllr Salma Patel who said they could not support the party.

Tory councillor Altaf ‘Tiger’ Patel had resigned within days of the bombing of Gaza.

All the councillors have resigned from their party and not the council, and as such will stand as Independents.

Hussain Akhtar and Mohammed Irfan have been included on a list of councillors that are now Independents. Both however were already suspended by the party for different reasons.

It means there are nearly as many Independents (10) as there are Conservative councillors (11) in the borough.

Former Mayor Cllr Salim Mulla also said he would be scrapping his membership of the party.

Salim Sidat said in a statement: After careful deliberation, I have decided to embark on a new chapter in my political journey as an Independent councillor.

“I believe this change better aligns with my personal and political convictions.

“On Thursday, October 26, I participated in a meeting with the deputy leader of the party, Angela Rayner. Despite my pleas and those of other elected members in attendance, the party's stance displayed a lack of empathy towards the humanitarian cause.

“It is evident that there is no willingness from the party leadership to adopt a humanitarian stance or even call for a ceasefire.

“I was deeply disappointed with the perspectives of our leadership. The call for a ceasefire should have come from the Labour Party. While we understand that the Israeli government may not heed such calls, it does not mean we cannot apply pressure on the Tory government.

“This conflict did not start just 10 days ago; the narrative that Hamas is solely responsible for the deaths of 1,200 innocent Israeli citizens is a perspective shared by many.

“However, we must also consider the innocent men, women, and children who have lost their lives and had their homes displaced over the past 75 years. One in three refugees in the world are Palestinian. Should we simply disregard their suffering?”

The national Labour Party said it would will not sack shadow cabinet members rebelling over the party’s position on the Israel-Hamas conflict, shadow science secretary Peter Kyle has suggested.

Sir Keir Starmer has called for a humanitarian pause in the fighting to allow for aid to be delivered to Palestinian civilians in Gaza, a call echoed by the UK’s allies including the United States.

But he finds himself at odds with senior Labour figures, including shadow equalities minister Yasmin Qureshi, who called during Prime Minister’s Questions for Rishi Sunak to back a ceasefire.

Meanwhile, Imran Hussain, a shadow minister working in Angela Rayner’s team, is among 39 Labour MPs who have signed a parliamentary early day motion calling for “an immediate de-escalation and cessation of hostilities”.

A host of frontbenchers, including shadow Home Office minister Jess Phillips, also broke ranks on Saturday to voice their support for a ceasefire.

Cllr Suleman Khonat said he had been a Labour councillor for more than 20 years.

In a statement he said: “Supporting communities has always been at the forefront of everything I have done and continue to do.  

“I was attracted to the Labour Party because it was the party of the common man, the poor,  the working class, asylum seekers, immigrants and those fleeing persecution from all around the world. It has been the party of social justice and speaking up for the oppressed, regardless of where they were in the world.

 “The actions of Hamas in the mass killing of Israelis on October 7 was unequivocally appalling and the perpetrators should rightfully be brought to justice.

"However, supporting the genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people is not justice, it is unbridled revenge on a targeted group of defenceless people.”

The Blackburn Labour Party leader was contacted for comment.