Blackburn with Darwen Council backed a beefed up motion on the Gaza conflict at a meeting last night.

It came after the Labour leadership accepted an amendment from the 4BwD Independent Group, calling for an investigation by the International Criminal Court for potential crimes against humanity.

Labour councillors had tabled a motion to the authority's annual Policy Council calling for an immediate ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Gaza.

This flew in the face of the national Labour party's official stance calling for humanitarian pauses in fighting, as took place in recent days to allow the release of hostages and prisoners and to get aid into the Gaza Strip.

However, the 4BwD group, of eight former Labour councillors who left the party of over its stance on the conflict and former Tory councillor Altaf 'Tiger' Patel who quit the Conservative Party over its attitude to the fighting, tabled an amendment to the resolution proposed by Bastwell and Daisyfield ward's Cllr Shaukat Hussain and Wensley Fold ward's Cllr Sabahat Imtiaz.

The motion was was debated at Thursday's annual Policy Council with around a dozen campaigners watching in the public gallery, as the humanitarian truce between Hamas and Israel came to an end and fighting restarted.

Fighting flared up between Israel and Hamas after terrorist attacks on October 7 in which hundreds of innocent people in Israel were killed, injured or taken hostage.

This led to weeks of bombardment of Gaza by Israeli forces, which is said were targeted attacks on Hamas locations, but have seen thousands of innocent Palestinians, many children, killed and displaced, leading to a major humanitarian crisis.

Israel also came under criticism for cutting off water and fuel supplies to the Palestinian enclave, an alleged breach of international law.

The 4BwD amendment added: "The council stresses the need for accountability for the actions taken by Israel and Hamas, emphasising that this accountability must be pursued through the international Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

"We call on our politicians to stand against all human suffering without discrimination or generalisation."

The council's Labour leader, Cllr Phil Riley, accepted the changes and the amended motion was passed by 34 votes to nil, with 10 Tory councillors abstaining.

Proposing the motion Cllr Hussain said: "We condemn Hamas for its unprovoked attack on Israel, and in taking over 200 hostages – many being civilians, including innocent women and children.

"Israel’s response to the attack has, however, been utterly out of proportion."

Cllr Mustafa Desai, leader of the 4BwD group told the meeting: "We must strive to hold fast our moral, ethical and, more importantly humanitarian principles.

"As individuals in levels of authority we should all be seeking out our moral compass.

"There is absolutely no ambiguity regarding the impact the Israel-Palestine is having at a local level - the sudden rise of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia putting local people in nearly continuous states of hyper-vigilance.

"International situations do filter down and impact at a local level.

"The motion that was tabled today we felt was a little bit weak as there was no mention of accountability. "

Fellow 4Bwd member Cllr Salim Sidat said: "While recognising Israel's right to protect its civilian population, the attacks we witness day in and day out are deeply troubling and seem to align with the gravity of genocide."

Cllr Imtiaz said: "The situation in Gaza and Israel has been heartbreaking to see over the last six weeks.

"The loss of innocent civilian lives has been unacceptable.

"We must note that the greater the ferocity of the war the greater the chance of sowing the seeds of hatred for generations."