The Oxford city council Liberal Democrats group has said its party is "ready" to take over if Labour "can’t get a grip" following six more councillor resignations.

Six labour councillors on the city council resigned yesterday (October 21) evening after remarks from party leadership on the Israel-Hamas conflict sparked concern.

The most recent resignations come after fellow Oxford City councillors Shaista Aziz and Amar Latif also said they would resign over the comments last week.

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Councillors Imogen Thomas, Edward Mundy, Paula Dunne, Duncan Hall, Dr Hosnieh Djafari-Marbini and Jabu Nala-Hartley said they were stepping down from the party last night in the wake of Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer appearing to suggest that Israel has “the right” to withhold energy and water from Gaza.

All eight councillors will continue to serve as independents.

Their resignations mean Labour is now down to 24 councillors on Oxford City Council, with 24 in opposition.

The Liberal Democrat’s group leader at the city council, Cllr Chris Smowton said: "This cannot have been an easy decision for those councillors who have resigned from Labour.

"I can understand their frustration with Keir Starmer, who has failed to communicate that both terrorism and inhumane response to terrorism are unacceptable.

Oxford Mail: Lib Dem and city councillor Christopher Smowton

"I think Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesperson Layla Moran has set an excellent example here, consistently condemning terrorism, and also calling for innocent civilians in Gaza to be protected and for the delivery of humanitarian aid to be expedited.

"Oxford needs a stable administration, united to deal with the city's most urgent problems: to get on top of the city's spiralling housing costs, to decisively set Oxford on course to net zero, and to ensure much-needed affordable homes don't come at the cost of the city's parks and wilderness.

"Labour has lost its majority on Oxford City Council. If they can’t get a grip, then the Liberal Democrats stand ready to get on with the job of governing in the best interests of our city."

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Cllr Susan Brown, Labour leader of Oxford City Council, said: " While I am disappointed that they have chosen to do this, local residents can be assured that the Oxford Labour administration on the council will continue to deliver for residents as we have done since our election.

"Keir Starmer reiterated today that Israel has the right to defend itself, but must act in accordance with international law.

Oxford Mail: Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council

"We all abhor the barbaric terrorist attacks committed by Hamas and Labour stands in solidarity with the innocent civilians in Gaza and Israel in the face of continuing violence and suffering through the lack of basic necessities.

"We are all hoping for a peaceful outcome soon.

"Oxford Labour continues to support our local Jewish and Muslim communities who are both grieving.

"It is vital that we all play our part in ensuring that Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism have no place in our city. We will continue to support all Oxford's faith communities.

"There is no place for hate in Oxford and I would urge anyone experiencing any such horrific incidents to report them to the police."