A small group of Labour MPs are expected to make an announcement later today on the “future of British politics”. This comes after up to 10 frontbenchers said they could resign should Jeremy Corbyn not go all out for a second referendum.
There have been growing reports a group of disaffected Labour MPs could quit the party due to their disgruntlement with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s stance on Brexit, as well as his handling of antisemitism allegations.
Although these party members are yet to make themselves known, or talk about what their intentions are, several senior Labour figures have warned MPs against splitting away from the party, claiming it could risk a decade of Conservative government.
Both ex-foreign secretary Dame Margaret Beckett and Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell, a key ally of Mr Corbyn, warned against the consequences of such a move.
Dame Beckett said that a split would be “a big mistake”:
“There are people, I know, who have been working desperately hard – people outside the Labour Party – who have been working hard for years to try to persuade the Labour Party to split. I think it’s a big mistake.
“I hope none of my colleagues take that advice because it’s the worst possible advice they can have. At the most basic and brutal: If you want to change an organisation, you don’t change it by leaving it.”
Labour deputy leader was due to speak to Sky News in a routine interview this morning, but pulled out 20 minutes before.
One of the biggest splits between leader Jeremy Corbyn and some of his backbenchers is the issue of another Brexit referendum. Critics say he is dodging keeping to party policy as agreed at the annual conference in Liverpool last September.
“If we cannot get a general election Labour must support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote.”
Labour held a no confidence vote in Theresa May and the government, in a bid to force one – but failed both times. Senior party figures have said Labour should keep pushing for that general election.
There has been speculation for weeks some MPs could announce a formal splinter from the party. But other options are that they simply set out their position and give the leadership a big warning that they could split unless changes are made.
As an announcement is being prepared, a lecturn and four chairs sit on a stage. A blank piece of paper is covering the front of the lecturn, but journalists are expecting the new political party to be called ‘The Independent Group’.