Published: Mon, February 18, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Seven British Labour MPs walk out of Corbyn's party over Brexit, anti-Semitism

Seven British Labour MPs walk out of Corbyn's party over Brexit, anti-Semitism

Tensions have been growing in the party over leader Jeremy Corbyn's handling of the Brexit referendum campaign and subsequent votes, as well as his approach to dealing with allegations of anti-Semitism from party members.

In terms of party history, the Labour departure does not compare to the 1981 Labour split that started the Social Democrats party, Livingstone said. The instructions therein are very clear: "Step One: Call for by-elections".

Many Labour lawmakers have been unhappy with the party's direction under leader Jeremy Corbyn, a veteran socialist who took charge in 2015 with strong grass-roots backing.

MPs also demanded that party officials such as General Secretary Jennie Formby or leader Jeremy Corbyn attend the meeting to answer questions about the data.

On Sunday, John McDonnell, Labour's shadow chancellor, warned that a party split could prevent the opposition from getting into power. Corbyn will argue he actually won back many UKIP voters in the 2017 election, voters who thought stopping Tory austerity was now the pressing issue.

"The current Labour leadership is breaking the broad church that this party once built its electoral success upon - a broad church which delivered Labour governments that lifted millions and millions of people out of poverty".

Mr McDonnell also revealed that Labour would "look at" a proposal put forward by backbenchers Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson to back a second Brexit referendum in the next round of votes on February 27.

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The seven MPs will form a breakaway independent group in parliament, undermining Corbyn as he attempts to steer the party through the highly divisive issue of Brexit. "They were giant figures, everyone in Britain knew who they were", Livingstone said of the four senior party figures who left.

Stephen Doughty, Cardiff South and Penarth MP, said he deeply regretted the split, "not least at a time when our country faces its greatest crisis since 1940, and we are mourning the loss of a colleague". The danger is they undermine rather than boost the second referendum cause within Labour, as only Corbyn can make it a reality.

A former chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, he also said that a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn would "threaten our national security and worldwide alliances".

"The failure to respect the request for this simple information does nothing to dispel the accusation that Labour is an institutionally antisemitic organisation", the seven MPs charged.

"Somebody who is racist or anti-semitic isn't going to join the Labour Party because we've always championed the rights of minorities and migrants", Livingstone added. Gavin Shuker was one of those who felt in 2016 the leadership challenge was too early, that Corbyn should be allowed to fail on his own terms.

He also now sits on the women and equalities select committee. A year ago the Corbyn critic lost a no-confidence vote put forward by his local constituency party.

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