In a shock announcement seven MPs have quit the Labour party.
British MPs Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker and Ann Coffey have all quit on Monday morning.
Berger said that the Labour party had become institutionally anti-Semitic and she was “embarrassed and ashamed” to stay in the party. She complained that the party “refuses to put my constituents and our country before party interest.”
"We have all now resigned from the Labour Party."@lucianaberger announces that she is one of a group of MPs who have left the Labour Party.
They will now sit in parliament as an independent group of MPs.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) February 18, 2019
The seven MPs announced in a joint statement, “We are leaving the Labour Party to sit as the Independent Group of Members of Parliament.
“Our primary duty as Members of Parliament is to put the best interests of our constituents and our country first. Yet like so many others, we believe that none of today’s political parties are fit to provide the leadership and direction needed by our country.
“Our aim is to pursue policies that are evidence-based, not led by ideology, taking a long-term perspective to the challenges of the 21st century in the national interest, rather than locked in the old politics of the 20th century in the party’s interests.
“As an Independent Group we aim to recognise the value of healthy debate, show tolerance towards different opinions and seek to reach across outdated divides and build consensus to tackle Britain’s problems.”
The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn said in a statement, “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.”