Right at the point where Her Majesty’s Opposition might be expected to galvanise their efforts against a Tory party that is pulling itself in different directions, the UK Labour party is in disarray.
This morning ‘gang of seven’ MPs have resigned from the Labour Party: Luciana Berger, Ann Coffey, Mike Gapes, Chris Leslie, Gavin Shuker, Angela Smith and Chuka Umunna. Berger explained:
“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.”
They are unhappy with the Labour leader’s approach to Brexit and anti-Semitism with Berger saying that her old party was “institutionally anti-Semitic” making her “embarrassed and ashamed”.
Chuka Umunna believes “it is time we dumped this country’s old-fashioned politics” to create a new political party free from tribal politics that is “fit for the here and now”. He added: “You don’t join a political party to fight the people within it.”
In a press conference Umunna said “we are not going to join the Liberal Democrats … this has to be genuinely something new”. You can watch back what was said at the press conference over on the Guardian website. The Independent Group’s website is overwhelmed at the moment; their social media presences are working better.
Jeremy Corbyn has responded:
“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.”
‘Bungling’ doesn’t seem to be confined to the Tory benches.
Will Great Britain’s NI21 be able to make an impact? Or will it become a left wing split that fizzles out?
Alan Meban. Tweets as @alaninbelfast. Blogs about cinema and theatre over at Alan in Belfast. A freelancer who writes about, reports from, live-tweets and live-streams civic, academic and political events and conferences. He delivers social media training/coaching; produces podcasts and radio programmes; is a FactCheckNI director; a member of Ofcom’s Advisory Committee for Northern Ireland; and a member of the Corrymeela Community.