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Second Gedling councillor resigns from Labour Party over refusal to call for Israel-Gaza ceasefire

"It was a difficult decision."

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A second Gedling Borough councillor has resigned from the Labour Party over their stance on the Israel-Gaza conflict.

Councillor Des Gibbons, who represents Bestwood St Albans, said he will now stand as an independent.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has faced criticism from sections of the party nationally over his refusal to call for a ceasefire in the ongoing conflict.

More than 30 councillors across the country have so far resigned over the leader’s comments.

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PICTURED: Cllr Des Gibbons
PICTURED: Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is yet to call for a ceasefire

Cllr Gibbons is the second to resign following Councillor Russell Whiting’s announcement that he would leave the Labour Party for similar reasons to become independent.

Cllrs Gibbons and Whiting will sit as an independent group at Gedling Borough Council.

Nottingham City Labour Councillor Nadia Farhat has also left the party.

Cllr Gibbons told the Local Democracy Reporting Service it was a “difficult decision”.

In previous comments Sir Keir also suggested it was appropriate for Israel to withhold water and power from Gaza, later adding “everything should be done within international law”.

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He has also refused to call for a ceasefire and instead has supported “humanitarian pauses”.

The Hamas group is based in Gaza and is considered a terror organisation in Israel and the UK.

It killed more than 1,400 people in Israel in a wave of attacks on October 7, and took more than 150 more hostage. In response Israel has launched air strikes which the Hamas-run health ministry says have so far killed more than 9,000 people.

Cllr Gibbons, who has been a Labour party member for around 20 years, said: “I did a lot of soul searching because my decision is nothing to do with Gelding Labour and I am fully supportive of them.

“Keir Starmer’s original statement set off alarm bells for me.

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“My decision is against the leadership stance on not calling for a ceasefire.

“It is out of step with the public opinion in this country and with the United Nations.”

Cllr Gibbons previously suspended his Labour party membership over Tony Blair’s decision to send troops into Iraq in the early 2000s.

He added: “I can never condone what happened on October 7 but we have the carpet bombing and strikes on camps playing before our very eyes.

“I’ve always supported Palestinian rights and it has always been close to my heart.

“It’s a very emotive subject so it took me a long time to make my decision.

“It’s horrific to see what is happening and I am hoping the leadership will change its mind.”

In a speech on October 31, Sir Keir said: “While I understand calls for a ceasefire, at this stage I do not believe that is the correct position now, for two reasons.

“One, because a ceasefire always freezes any conflict in the state where it currently lies.

“And as we speak, that would leave Hamas with the infrastructure and the capability to carry out the sort of attack we saw on October the 7th.

“Attacks that are still ongoing. Hostages who should be released – still held.

“Hamas would be emboldened and start preparing for future violence immediately.”

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