Islington councillors join calls for Labour leadership to back Gaza ceasefire

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer. Photograph: UK Parliament

Three Islington Labour councillors have joined calls for party leader Keir Starmer to back a ceasefire in Gaza.

Jilani Chowdhury, who chairs the health and care scrutiny committee, women and girls champion Saiqa Pandor, and migrants champion Ilkay Cinko-Oner are among 150 signatories to a letter published by the Labour Muslim Network.

They are calling for an urgent ceasefire and want Hamas to return the Israeli hostages snatched last month in a raid that triggered an escalation in the conflict.

In the letter, councillors told Starmer and his deputy leader Angela Rayner that the aid that is getting through is a “a drop in the ocean”.

They highlighted the deaths of thousands of Israelis and Palestinians, and echoed concerns of humanitarian agencies about the “catastrophic conditions” for civilians in Gaza.

Councillors said constituents are distressed as the death toll on both sides increases.

“People just want an end to the bloodshed and loss of innocent life,” the letter states.

The councillors added that “children and hundreds of innocent men and women pay the price”.

They want Labour’s leadership to join faith leaders and charities in urging the government and international leaders to press for a ceasefire.

The letter said: “No nation, no people or community should have to endure collective punishment and the same should be the case for the Palestinian people. We are also clear that hostages held captive must also be returned to their families safely.”

The councillors and the Labour party have been contacted for comment.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is calling for a ceasefire instead of a humanitarian pause for civilians to leave Gaza.

Starmer is coming under pressure from his party, with several councillors quitting over his stance.

Burnley and Pendle’s council leaders have called on him to resign.