The leader of the Labour Party in Burnley has responded after a new Independent group coalition took control of the council.

A group of former Labour councillors who quit over the party's stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict have now formed a new coalition with the Greens and the Lib Dems.

A total of 11 councillors, including council leader Afrasiab Anwar, who resigned from the Labour Party made the announcement.

The new Co-operative Alliance includes the new Independent Group, the Green Group, and the Liberal Democrat Group, and will have 25 councillors, which gives the coalition an overall majority on Burnley Council.

Cllr Afrasiab Anwar will remain as leader of the council, whilst the council’s new executive will include six members, with two members from each of the parties in the Co-operative Alliance.  

MORE: Burnley councillors who resigned over Gaza form coalition

Burnley’s Labour group, which now has 11 councillors, said they had been ‘proud of their achievements such as supporting people with the spiralling cost of living, delivering Pioneer Place, turning Burnley into a university town and the Padiham Town Centre regeneration.’

A statement read: "The decision of the newly independent Council Leader, who was elected on a Labour ticket, to now form a coalition with minor parties, thereby ignoring the mandate upon which he was elected, has already created instability and chaos at the council.

"Important meetings have been cancelled and decisions not made.

"This is especially unacceptable during a severe cost of living crisis, people want good council services and effective leadership for the town.

"Labour has supplied that and this was not the time for the council leader to play party politics with peoples services."

Leader of the Labour Group on Burnley Council, Cllr Mark Townsend, added: “We are proud of our record and disappointed to be leaving office due to matters that are totally unrelated to providing good local services and major projects for the people of the town in these tough times.

"Labour will be working harder than ever, both at the council and in all communities across the borough, in holding this new administration to account to ensure that the progress made under Labour is built on and not lost.”

In a joint statement, Cllrs Anwar, Cllr Howard Baker and Green leader Cllr Scott Cunliffe said: “The most important reason for the Co-operative Alliance is that it gives stability to Burnley’s Council which means we can concentrate on the things that matter most to Burnley people.

“The greatest challenge is the cost-of-living crisis which our residents face, particularly over the winter months."