Lord mayor of Newcastle quits Labour in protest at Israel-Gaza stance

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Lord mayor of Newcastle quits Labour in protest at Israel-Gaza stance

Habib Rahman used X, formerly Twitter, to share his resignation letter and announced he would now be an Independent on Newcastle City Council.

Cllr Habib Rahman
Cllr Habib Rahman

The first non-white lord mayor of Newcastle has quit Labour in protest at what he called Sir Keir Starmer’s “unwavering support for the Israeli government’s bombardment of Gaza”.

Habib Rahman used X, formerly Twitter, to share his resignation letter and announced he would now be an Independent on Newcastle City Council.

Mr Rahman’s father was murdered in a racist attack and the life-long Labour member said he was a dedicated campaigner for equality and against hate crimes.

While he applauded Labour’s efforts to root out antisemitism, he claimed the party had not done enough to challenge Islamophobia.

Mr Rahman said: “As a life-long anti-war campaigner, I cannot accept your inhumane position in support of the Israeli government’s continuous bombardment of innocent Palestinian people.”

He added: “Your continuous support for the Israeli government, coupled with a lack of compassion, empathy and humanity towards innocent men, women and children in Palestine is unacceptable.

“Your unwavering support for the Israeli government’s bombardment of Gaza is nothing short of advocating for the decimation of the Palestinian people.”

A spokesperson for Newcastle Labour Group said: “As a Labour group we are incredibly sad to hear of Councillor Habib Rahman’s decision today.

“We would like to thank him for all he has done for his constituents in Elswick and the city of Newcastle at large.

“The Labour Party is an anti-racist party, committed to combating and campaigning against all forms of racism, including antisemitism and Islamophobia.”

In 2021, Mr Rahman became the first non-white person to become lord mayor of Newcastle since the post was created in 1216, and he held office for a year.

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