The five Respect councillors on Bradford Council have quit the party after being unable to resolve a dispute with its senior officials.

The five had been temporarily acting as independents since August in protest after two of them Councillors Ishtiaq Ahmed (Manningham) and Mohammad Shabbir (Heaton) were suspended earlier this year when they were publicly critical of Bradford West Respect MP George Galloway’s comments that he was considering contesting the Mayor of London election .

In a statement issued today, group leader Councillor Alyas Karmani (Little Horton) said talks had been taking place over the last two months to try to resolve that and other issues.

He said: “Regrettably these discussions have failed to find common ground as senior Respect officials have shown a disregard to address our legitimate grievances and we have been unable to resolve our issues of difference.

“After much deliberation this has left our group no choice but to fully resign from the Respect party with immediate effect and hence forth we will continue to operate as a group of independent councillors for the remainder of our term.

“ This decision has not been made lightly and we are saddened that certain ‘gatekeepers’ involved in Bradford Respect appear to have no interest in transparency, accountability and equity.”

The other former Respect councillors are Ruqayyah Collector (City), Faisal Khan (Bradford Moor).