Five Bolton councillors from Muslim backgrounds have signed a letter calling on the Labour Party to demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The councillors, including two cabinet members, have joined a growing list of more than 250 Labour councillors of Muslim heritage across the country in writing to Labour leader Keir Starmer and deputy leader Angela Rayner.

Cllr Hamid Khurram, Bolton Council cabinet member for planning housing and highways, Cllr Nadeem Ayub, cabinet member for culture, Cllr Safwaan Patel, of Halliwell and Cllr Abdul Atcha, of Rumworth and Cllr Sajid Ali, also of Rumworth, have put their names to the letter.

Cllr Khurram said: "The civilian deaths in Gaza have been very worrying and that is why we are asking the government and all parties to play a role in calling for an immediate ceasefire.

"So all parties must play a roll in calling for an immediate ceasefire and paving the way for humanitarian aid in Gaza, which is food and medicine."

The Bolton News: Around 2,000 people attended a rally organised by Bolton4Palestine earlier this monthAround 2,000 people attended a rally organised by Bolton4Palestine earlier this month (Image: Henry Lisowski)

The spiralling conflict has sent shockwaves through communities in Bolton, which around 2,000 people flocking to a protest in Victoria Square organised by the group Bolton4Palestine in support of the embattled territory and its people on Saturday October 15.

The letter was organised by the Labour Muslim Network, which described it as “an unprecedented letter of unity from Muslim Labour representatives shows the strength of feeling throughout the nation and in our communities.”

The Bolton News: Marchers made their way from Queens Park to Victoria SquareMarchers made their way from Queens Park to Victoria Square (Image: Henry Lisowski)

It said: “As Labour councillors elected to serve our constituents, the message we have been hearing repeatedly over the past two weeks is simple, people just want to end the bloodshed and the loss of innocent life.

“No nation, no people or community should have to endure collective punishment and the same should be the case for the Palestinian people.”

It added: “We are also clear that hostages held captive must also be returned to their families safely.”

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It was published on Wednesday this week, the same day that Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi made an impassioned intervention during Prime Minister’s Questions calling on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to demand an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire.”

Quoting from an email sent to her by a constituent with family in Gaza, Ms Qureshi said: “My heart cannot take this anymore, we are being massacred, relentlessly bombed, houses are being destroyed, no water, no food, no electricity.”

Turning to her own words, Ms Qureshi, who sits as shadow minister for women and equalities, added: “This is collective punishment of the Palestinian people in Gaza for crimes they did not commit.

“How many more innocent Palestinians must die before this Prime Minister calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire?”

A peace vigil is set to be organised in Bolton at a later date.