Labour only has two seats more than the second biggest political group within Burnley council.

Labour saw its seat-count almost halved on Sunday night when 10 councillors quit the party, citing leader Keir Starmer's refusal to call for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. 

They followed scores of resignations elsewhere in East Lancashire and around the country, over Starmer's stance calling for humanitarian 'pauses' to deliver aid and release hostages, rather than a total ceasefire.

Council leader Afrasiab Anwar, joined Ishtiaq Mohammed, Shah Hussain, Asif Raja, Sehrish Lone, Syeda Kazmi, Arif Khan, Lubna Khan, Saeed Chaudhary and Nussrat Kazmi in resigning from the party on Sunday.

The resignation statement was also shared on behalf of community activists Zahid Khan and Aurangzaib Ali and County Councillor Usman Arif.

Labour - which was already ruling as a minority executive - was reduced from 22 councillors to 12 with the Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives and the Green Party all with seven councillors each.

The new Independents (former Labour) make up a total of 10 and a further two are members of the Burnley & Padiham Independents.

Burnley Council confirmed the Executive Committee had not changed and any decision for executive roles remained with the council leader.

Normally, the largest party or one that has gone into coalition would make up the Executive within a council.

In brings into question the matter of democracy; as the councillors were elected as Labour representatives, they could face calls to resign from the council all together triggering by-elections and throwing the knife-edge council into further disarray.

On Monday, the Liberal Democrats said they had not been approached for any coalition as yet and said the ‘plight of those being killed in the conflicts remained a pressing issue for all’.

The Green Party said there was always a level of panic when resignations such as this took place.

Cllr Scott Cunliffe who is designated leader of the group said: "For me personally, I think the most important thing is stability for all and a stable Burnley."

The Tories meanwhile said Labour ‘as a force had collapsed’ and were now unsure who led the party.

A statement read: “To see nearly half of Labour’s local Councillors, resign over international politics says it all. As a force they’ve collapsed overnight and that will take a lot of people by surprise. It’s not clear who leads them now. Or where their Parliamentary candidate stands in all of this? Oddly, he’s been silent since last week. 

"War and conflict is just awful – and what’s happening abroad is heart-breaking. But as Borough Councillors our job is to represent residents here in Burnley and Padiham on local issues. That’s what we’ve always focused on because that’s the purpose of local councillors. 

"Sadly, we expect the Council Chamber will be turned into a Labour Party battleground on this issue but we’re going to continue with what we’re here for - helping residents and getting things done. Because whatever is happening to the local Labour Party right now, our focus needs to stay on delivering better local services for people.”

The next full council meeting in Burnley is due to take place in December.

In Pendle, Council Leader Asjad Mahmood had called for Sir Keir to resign over his stance on a ceasefire in Gaza.

It is unsure if councillors would follow their Burnley counterparts in the coming days.

In Blackburn with Darwen it does not appear that any more councillors will resign over the issue, despite increased pressures from supporters.

Audley and Queen’s Park councillor Salim Sidat was the latest to quit the party and joins Cllrs Suleman Khonat, Adbul Patel, Mustafa Desai, Saj Ali, Samim Desai and 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.

Demonstrations calling for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas have continued to take place all over the world as Israeli forces continue their ground offensive in the Gaza Strip and hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians flee for safety.

Thousands of people in Gaza have been killed since the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack in Israel where hundreds of civilians were killed.

Both the Conservatives and Labour favour humanitarian pauses over a ceasefire, with concerns a ceasefire would assist Hamas in regrouping, or that the terrorist organisation would not abide by the agreement.