We all watched on in horror at the news reports and images circulating at the weekend in Israel.

The level of violence and indifference to human life is shocking and must be condemned.

Alongside other councillors, I have been asked what can we do and for our views on these events. Obviously a historical conflict like this in a region miles away will never be resolved in Bolton Town Hall and we must focus on what we can do.

We as councillors are responsible for our local communities and supporting everyone in the Bolton family affected by these truly horrible events.

One of the fears about any violence involving race and religion is that it could lead to people taking disgraceful actions here in Bolton and in the UK.

We have seen this happen before with mosques, synagogues and other places of worship being targeted due to a warped mindset that these places are responsible for the actions of people far away.

It must be stated clearly that any attack is totally reprehensible. Citizens and communities here are not responsible for the actions of groups and governments on completely different continents.

 In Bolton we work best when we work together and this is why the Labour Group on the council brought forward a motion on anti-semitism and islamophobia.

It is vitally important that the council stands with one voice to show solidarity with all communities here in Bolton, from all backgrounds.

One of the great joys in the role as leader of the council is celebrating the diversity of our town and region.

In the short few months I have been leader I have met with community groups representing people from all religions and celebrated the fantastic work they are doing to bring prosperity and peace to the people of Bolton.

We are one Bolton family and we will not allow hate and division to divide communities against each other.