Former Labour councillors have come together to create a new Independent Group following a spate of resignations in the local council.

Councillors Shaista Aziz and Dr Amar Latif have formed the new Independent Group after they resigned as Labour Councillors following comments made by Party leader Keir Starmer in relation to conflict in Gaza.

Councillor Aziz, who had also resigned as cabinet member for safer communities, will act as official group Leader.

READ MORE: Motorcyclist suffers serious injuries in A34 crash at Islip

Oxford Mail: Councillor Aziz will serve as leader of the new Independent Group.Councillor Aziz will serve as leader of the new Independent Group. (Image: N/A)

She commented: "We will continue to work to represent the residents of our wards and city - carrying out case work and focussing on prioritising the interests of working-class communities across our city who are disproportionately and negatively impacted by the implementation of divisive transport policies.

"Overwhelmingly working-class people and communities feel that they have not been consulted properly and their needs and the reality of their lives have not been factored into the creation of these policies."

Cllr Aziz outlined areas of focus as transport, cost of living and community safety.

Councillor Latif added: "As independent councillors we look forward to working constructively with elected members, all stakeholders across the City, and residents to serve the people and communities of Oxford."

Oxford Mail: Councillor Latif said he grew up in Oxford with lots of family in the area.Councillor Latif said he grew up in Oxford with lots of family in the area. (Image: Contribution.)

The Oxford Mail asked both councillors why they had made the decision to continue as Independents rather than resign entirely and trigger a by-election.

Ms Aziz said: "We're trying to change the direction of the ruling of the city council.

"We were Labour councillors but without a shadow of a doubt people also voted for us as well.

"Of course, we're not arrogant enough to believe people voted just for us."

Ms Aziz pointed out that no one had contacted her asking why she had decided to continue as an Independent but that she had received a lot of positive messages.

Mr Latif added that he had spoken to 2000 voters across Cowley in the run-up to the election and grown up in the area with family and friends there too.

A spokesman for the Oxford Labour Party responded: "That is a matter for them.

"In the meantime, the Oxford Labour administration will continue to serve local residents, delivering on the manifesto pledges that Oxford residents voted for by a large majority."

In a statement last week, City Council Leader, Susan Brown had said that she was "disappointed" at the resignation of six more City Labour councillors.

Oxford Mail: The City Council Leader has said she was disappointed at the resignation of six more councillors.The City Council Leader has said she was disappointed at the resignation of six more councillors. (Image: Contribution.)

The group of six announced on Friday evening they had resigned over the "Labour leadership’s refusal to condemn collective punishment of Palestinians" a week after the resignations of Ms Aziz and Dr Latif.

Oxford Labour councillor Susanna Pressel said: "I agree that Keir mis-spoke and took far too long to correct the impression he had given.

"However, I'm really sorry that so many friends have resigned from the Labour Party.

"I hope they will come back.

"My view is that we must all work together now to get rid of this awful government.

"We urgently need to rescue our public services, reduce poverty and fight the climate crisis."