Seven MPs leave Labour Party in protest at Jeremy Corbyn's leadership


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Media captionSeven MPs resign from Labour party over Brexit and anti-Semitism

Seven MPs have resigned from the Labour Party in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s approach to Brexit and anti-Semitism.

They are: Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker and Ann Coffey.

Ms Berger said Labour had become institutionally anti-Semitic and she was “embarrassed and ashamed” to stay.

Mr Corbyn said he was “disappointed” the MPs had felt unable to continue working for the policies that “inspired millions” at the 2017 election.

The MPs are not launching a new political party – they will sit in Parliament as the Independent group.

But Chuka Umunna said they had “taken the first step” and urged other Labour MPs – and members of other parties – to join them in “building a new politics”.

“Politics is broken, it doesn’t have to be this way. Let’s change it,” he said at a launch event in central London .

‘Painful but necessary decision’

Each of the seven took turns to explain their personal reasons for quitting the party.

Ms Berger 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.”

Chris Leslie said Labour had been “hijacked” by the far left.

Mike Gapes said: “I am sickened that Labour is now perceived by many as a racist, anti-Semitic party.”

He added that it was “increasingly clear that prominent figures in the Corbyn Labour leadership do not want to stop Brexit”.

Ms Berger initially introduced herself as “the Labour Party MP”, before correcting herself and saying: “I am the Member of Parliament for Liverpool Wavertree.”

In a statement, Mr Corbyn said: “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 plan.

“When millions are facing the misery of Universal Credit, rising crime, homelessness, poverty, now more than ever is the time to bring people together to build a better future for all of us.”



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