Labour Split: Chuka Umunna Among Seven MPs To Quit Party

18 February 2019, 08:31 | Updated: 18 February 2019, 10:39

The Independent Group announce they are leaving the Labour Party
The Independent Group announce they are leaving the Labour Party. Picture: PA

Seven Labour MPs have resigned from the Party and will 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.

"We represent different parts of the country, we are of different backgrounds, we were born of different generations, but we all share the same values.

"From today, we will all sit in Parliament as a new independent group of MPs."

Mr Umunna said: “The bottom line is this: politics is broken, it doesn’t have to be this way. Let’s change it.”

He confirmed the group has not yet assigned roles and responsibilities between them.

The website for the new Independent Group
The website for the new Independent Group. Picture: PA

Mr Leslie said that Mr Corbyn and his supporters seek to divide society between the oppressor and the oppressed.

Speaking at the press conference, he said: "We have to say enough is enough. There has to be a better way forward, there is a better way forward."

Mr Gapes added: "I've always considered myself Labour to my core. I am sickened that the Labour Party is now a racist, anti-Semitic party.

"I'm furious that the Leadership is now complicit in facilitating Brexit."

Jeremy Corbyn leaving his north London home this morning
Jeremy Corbyn leaving his north London home this morning. Picture: PA

Labour leader Mr Corbyn responded to the split, saying: "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 and saw us increase our vote by the largest share since 1945.

"Labour won people over on a programme of for the many not the few - redistributing wealth and power, taking vital resources into public ownership, investing in every region and nation, and tackling climate change.

"The Conservative Government is bungling Brexit, while Labour has set out a unifying and credible alternative plan. When millions are facing the misery of Universal Credit, rising crime, homelessness and poverty, now more than ever is the time to bring people together to build a better future for us all."

Labour MP David Lammy is standing in for James O'Brien live at 10am - tune in for his reaction.

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