Three of Greenwich’s 51 Labour councillors were among 330 to sign a petition calling for the party to back a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Majella Anning, Issy Cooke and John Fahy said that ““the Labour Party’s failure to call for an end to violence is causing hurt in our communities”.
Sir Keir Starmer, Labour’s leader, has refused to demand an end to the hostilities, instead calling for a “humanitarian pause” in the fighting to allow aid to reach the people of Gaza.
Thousands have died in the region since the terrorist group Hamas, which controls Gaza, entered Israel four weeks ago, kidnapping and murdering hundreds of people.
About 9,200 Palestinians have died in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run health ministry, following Israeli airstrikes on the region. About 1,000 Israel civilians have been killed.
The letter, which was published on the LabourList website, says that its signatories “cannot stay silent while even the sick and dying who are accessing urgent care in hospitals are not safe”.
“As community leaders we are proactively supporting our residents by speaking to faith and community groups and working to protect our communities who are facing rising hate crime and racially motivated violence,” they wrote.
“As Labour councillors across the country, we are calling on the Labour Party leadership to fulfil their duties under international law – to ensure the protection of an occupied people and to demand an immediate ceasefire, an end to Israel’s complete siege of Gaza and for the protection of all civilians.”
David Lammy, the shadow foreign secretary, wrote in The Observer this weekend that while he understood the calls for a ceasefire, it would “just embolden Hamas”, which he said would still have the “capacity and determination to repeat the horrors” of October 7.
Fahy, who represents Kidbrooke Park, is a former deputy leader of the council and was first elected in 1990. Anning (Creekside) and Cooke (Plumstead Common) are among the newest councillors, having been elected in May last year.
Six of Lewisham’s 54 councillors signed the letter: Bill Brown (Ladywell), Billy Harding (Forest Hill), Aisha Malik-Smith (New Cross Gate), Rudi Schmidt (Evelyn), Liam Shrivastava (New Cross Gate) and Hau-Yu Tam (Evelyn).
Five of Bexley’s 11 Labour councillors also added their names, including two Thamesmead East councillors, Zainab Asunramu and Larry Ferguson. Esther Amaning (Belvedere), Anna Day (Slade Green & Northend) and Nicola Taylor (Erith) also signed.
Other senior figures to have called for a ceasefire include Sadiq Khan and Andy Burnham, the Greater Manchester mayor. Across the Thames, Newham’s elected mayor Rokhsana Fiaz and 31 of the borough’s councillors have written their own letter calling for an end to fighting, according to Newham 65, a local politics blog.