A new political party called ‘The Independent Group’ has been formed after a Labour Split as seven party members resigned from their positions. Luciana Berger, Gavin Shuker, Chuka Umunna, Ann Coffey, Mike Gapes, Angela Smith and Chris Leslie are the founding members.
Umunna said that “no roles and responsibilities” have been distributed next, but he is probably the favourite to take over as leader. He also called on members from all parties to resign and join their group.
Berger spoke about her reasons for quitting the Labour party, and cited ‘institutional antisemtism’, and claimed that the leaders would “wilfully” ignore the hatred of Jewish people.
Leslie said that “enough is enough, there must be a better way forward, and there can be a better way forward,” when discussing antisemitism within the Labour party. He also accused Jeremy Corbyn of acting in ‘betrayal’ on Europe by enabling Brexit and holding back from allowing the public a final say.
Smith said she comes from a working class background, and that most people are like her family – they do not want to be patronised by left-wing intellectuals, who think being poor and working class constitutes a state of grace, but a fair crack at the whip and an opportunity to succeed.
Shuker said being an MP is his first and only job in politics. He said all of those there today love their country, and that their first duty is to keep people safe – saying not every problem in the world is created by the West.
Shuker said MPs are accountable to those who elect them and their values are shared by the majority of British people – once considered mainstream but not anymore by the parties of government.
Labour has turned its back on the British public – that is why we’ve taken this step today, Shuker concluded.
Coffey said she joined Labour 41 years ago and thought she would be there for the rest of her life, but political parties are not an end in themselves. Labour has lost sight of this and is no longer a broad church, she added.
Antisemitism is rife and tolerated by the party, Coffey complains, and concludes saying the leadership has successfully changed Labour “beyond recognition”.
I am sickened that Labour is now a racist, antisemitic party and furious that Jeremy Corbyn is enabling Brexit, Gapes said. He added the Labour leader is on the wrong side of “so many international issues” – listing Russia, Syria and Venezuela .
Too many people face barriers to reaching their potential, Umunna said, adding it doesn’t have to be that way. He said the “established parties can’t be the change because they have become the problem” and have failed to fulfil their duty with competence.
When our democracy is failing, the British people have overcome the hurdles to demand a better future, Umunna said. It is time we dumped this country’s old-fashioned politics, he declares, to give the country a politics ‘fit for the here and now’.
Labour Split: Jeremy Corbyn Responds
Jeremy Corbyn responds voicing hopes of ‘bringing people together’:
“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 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.”