James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Labour Party Is Anti-Semitic And Racist: Mike Gapes
18 February 2019, 13:47
One of the MPs to resign from the Labour Party tells LBC his former party is "institutionally racist" for failing to deal with anti-Semitism.
Speaking to LBC's Matthew Thompson, the now-former Labour MP said: "There are senior figures in the party who have been readmitted into membership over recent months, having been suspended because of things they said which were anti-Semitic," he said.
"There's been an organisational failure to get rid off, to expel people, and frankly for me anti-Semitism is something awful and horrible.
"I joined the Labour Party because of my commitment to fight racism and anti-Semitism is racism, and the Labour Party is failing to deal with these issues so it is institutionally anti-Semitism, and therefore racist."
Asked about "The Independent Group", Mr Gapes said that there were "a lot of steps" they need to go through, including a meeting to decide roles between them.
"We hope that other members of Parliament will come and join us so that the seven today will grow over the next few days," he said.
"I think we have all taken a decision based on our own conscience and we know there are other MPs who share our analysis but not yet come to the decision we've come to today."
Seven Labour MPs resigned from the Party and will instead sit as Independent MPs in Parliament.
Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna, Gavin Shuker, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey all resigned from Jeremy Corbyn's party.
They will sit under the title "The Independent Group".
In making the announcement, Ms Berger described the party as "institutionally anti-Semitic" and said she is "embarrassed and ashamed" by the party.
She said: "This morning we have all now resigned from the Labour Party. This has been a very difficult, painful, but necessary decision.