Monday, 18 February 2019

A group of seven anti-Corbyn MPs launched an historic breakaway from Labour in Westminster today

Seven MPs led by Luciana Berger and Chuka Umunna quit the Labour party today with a furious attack on Jeremy Corbyn for turning Labour into an 'institutionally anti-Semitic' party that was dominated by bullying, harassment and the hard-left.

Vowing to 'change politics', the new 'Independent Group' of MPs - drawn from different generations of Labour - also includes Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Gavin Shuker, Ann Coffey and Mike Gapes.

They accused Mr Corbyn of turning Labour into a racist party that weakens national security, accepts the 'narrative' of Britain's enemies and lashed him for facilitating Brexit.

In a joint statement, the MPs warned 'visceral hatreds of other people, views and opinions are commonplace in and around the Labour Party'.

The 'gang of seven' are all fiercely anti-Brexit and most have called for a second referendum on the deal. The move is unlikely to change the balance of Commons votes on Brexit as several of the group already rebelled against Mr Corbyn.

Following the biggest split in British politics since the SDP was formed out of Labour in 1981, Mr Umunna called for MPs from other parties to defect and join The Independent Group as he said British politics was 'broken'. 

Within moments of the mass resignation, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn hit back: 'I am disappointed that these MPs have felt unable to continue to work together for the Labour policies that inspired millions at the last election.'

A furious backlash from the left started immediately. The Momentum group that supports Mr Corbyn said the MPs wanted to 'drag Britain back to the politics of the past' while union chiefs warned they had 'no policies, no ideas and no direction'.

The Young Labour Twitter account vowed: 'Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer, we’ll keep the red flag flying here.'

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