Seven Labour MPs resigned from their party today, 18 February in protest Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, his stance on Brexit and his handling of allegations of anti-Semitism. They call themselves “The Independent Group”.
The seven are Luciana Berger, Ann Coffey, Mike Gapes, Chris Leslie, Gavin Shuker, Angela Smith and Chuka Umunna.
Within an hour of its inception, The Independent Group was already plagued by its very own accusations of racism, as deserter Angela Smith had to apologise for having “misspoke” after referring to black and ethnic minority people as people having “a funny tinge”.
The resignations follow desertions by two other MPs over the past year. One of them was Frank Fields, who resigned in September because Labour risked becoming a “force for antisemitism” and had allowed a “culture of nastiness, bullying and intimidation” to develop.
Only last month, Peterborough Labour MP Fiona Onasanya was expelled from the party after she was found guilty of perverting the course of justice.
Labour has now lost 14 MPs since the 2017 General Election.
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“Yet again, Labour has managed to steal the spotlight from the utterly inept Tory Government with their embarrassing internal squabbles.
“Labour has been tearing itself apart over anything from its party leadership to Brexit. Only last month, Scottish branch manager Richard Leonard MSP was unable to answer a question on whether Labour would campaign for or against Brexit if there were to be a General Election. Meanwhile, they are busy contradicting their own manifesto promises, while pretending to Remainers they are anti Brexit and Leavers that they are pro Brexit.
“I can’t think of an Opposition in my lifetime that has stood in front of an open goal the way Labour has and cocked it up so spectacularly the way Labour consistently does.
“I can’t think of an Opposition in my lifetime that had such a serious issue at hand and let the people down on a daily basis by concentrating on internal vendettas.
“I can’t think of an Opposition in my lifetime that was so utterly unfit to serve the people they are meant to represent, even with a Tory Government as destructive and contemptable as this one.
“The Labour Party has long since forfeited the right to be taken seriously as a political force for good with their own MPs becoming disillusioned and deserting a party whose platform they were elected on less than two years ago.
“Labour cannot be trusted to oppose let alone govern so unless Scotland becomes independent, surely our best possible future, we will be stuck with a UK Tory Government indefinitely.”