Leaders of Burnley and Pende Councils have called on the Labour leader to resign over his failure to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Sir Keir Starmer has faced pressure in recent weeks from grassroots party members over his stance in recent weeks over the relentless bombing of Gaza by the Israeli army.

The leaders of Burnley and Pendle Labour groups said Sir Keir should step down and allow a leadership election.

In recent days hundreds of Palestinians, many of them women and children have been killed or injured after Israeli Defence Forces bombed whole neighbourhoods.

Asjad Mahmood, a Pendle Borough councillor, said: “I, and my fellow 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 him to reconsider his position and resign to allow someone else to lead our party who has compassion and speaks out against injustice and indiscriminate killings of innocent human beings.”

Asian Image: Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer takes a tour of facilities during a visit to soft drinks manufacturer Clearly Drinks, at Northumbria Spring in Sunderland on Friday November 3 (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Burnley council leader Afrasiab Anwar said: “What we feel should be happening is that the leader of the opposition should in the least be applying pressure on the Prime Minister, on the Government, to call for a ceasefire and a release of all hostages.

He added: “The reason that a humanitarian pause is not good enough is because obviously the aid will get in but then the bombing, the attacks will start again. What we’re seeing is that these innocent civilians have got nowhere to escape to.

“The whole international community came out and said that Israel has the right to defend itself, just as any other nation does, but it’s got to be proportional and within international law.

“The number of lives that we’re seeing lost, the number of people, innocent civilians, who are losing their lives on both sides, we need to call it out and there needs to be a stop to it.”

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Sir Keir has also been battling to maintain frontbench discipline, with several members of his top team in revolt against his stance of calling for a humanitarian “pause” in the fighting in Gaza.

Sixteen frontbenchers have now either called for a ceasefire or shared others’ calls backing a ceasefire on social media, including Yasmin Qureshi, Jess Phillips and Imran Hussain.

Ms Phillips on Thursday said Israel’s military action against Hamas will only end in “death and destruction” and called for the negotiation of “peaceful political solutions”.