Seven MPs leave UK's Labour Party days before crucial Brexit vote

April FrancisFeb 19, 2019

Galloway, who was a Labour MP for 16 years, was reacting to the announcements made by several Labour parliamentarians that they are quitting the party to become Independents, having lost trust in leader Jeremy Corbyn over the issues of Brexit, foreign affairs and anti-Semitism.

Many Labour lawmakers are unhappy with the party's direction under leader Jeremy Corbyn, a veteran socialist who took charge in 2015 with strong grass-roots backing.

Speaking for the group Ms Berger said: "This has been a very hard, painful but necessary decision".

Luciana Berger, the Liverpool Wavertree MP, said she had become "embarrassed and ashamed" of representing the party, which she claimed was "institutionally anti-Semitic".

In a press conference Umunna said "we are not going to join the Liberal Democrats ... this has to be genuinely something new". But this is the biggest split in the Labour party since four senior members quit in 1981 to form the Social Democratic Party. "The core values of equality for all, opportunity for all, anti-racism against all and social justice - the values which I hold really dear and which led me to join the Labour Party as a student nearly 20 years ago - remain who I am", she said.

Yet the presence of Coffey was also a reminder that aftershocks from the twin earthquakes of 2016 - of the Brexit vote and Corbyn's landslide reelection as Labour leader - are still being felt to this day.

The lawmakers said they supported calls for a so-called "People's Vote", or second Brexit referendum, which the Labour party leadership has so far refused to back.

MP Ann Coffey said that she had joined Labour 41 years ago and thought she would remain there the rest of her life, but did not believe that political parties were "an end in themselves".

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But Mr Corbyn, who spent decades criticising the European Union before becoming a lukewarm convert to the "remain" cause in the 2016 referendum, is reluctant to do anything that could be seen as defying voters' decision to leave. She has been very open about what she has wanted the Labour leadership to do over many months - for instance, with the row last summer over the party's reluctance to adopt, in full, an worldwide definition of anti-semitism (something it eventually did do in September).

For many anxious about bullying and abuse on this issue, John McDonnell's bank manager mask slipped recently when he told Berger she could stop her local party confidence votes by staying in Labour.

That's right, it's time for more nonsense politics news from the United Kingdom!

A "statement of independence" on the group's website says it will "pursue policies that are evidence-based, not led by ideology, taking a long-term perspective to the challenges of the 21st century in the national interest".

There is also frustration among MPs about the leadership's handling of the anti-Semitism crisis which has engulfed Labour over the last few years.

The seven members of Parliament leaving Labour said they will continue to sit in the House of Commons as the newly formed Independent Group.

The party has come under further criticism for what is perceived as institutionalised antisemitism in its ranks.

The other problem for the new grouping is that Corbyn can counter that he rather than they is the one in touch with working class Labour voters' determination to get out of the EU.

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