Britain’s main opposition Labour Party’s seven MPs resigned in protest against their leader Jeremy Corbyn’s approach toward Brexit and incorporating alleged anti-Semitism, agencies reported. The resignation comes days before parliament’s vote on Brexit.
On Monday, in an impromptu press conference, the MPs Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker and Ann Coffey said Labour had been “hijacked by the machine politics of the hard left”.
Berger claimed that the party had become “institutionally anti-Semitic”.
“I have become embarrassed and ashamed to represent the Labour Party … [and] I am leaving behind a culture of bullying, bigotry and intimidation,” she said.
The party had recently been allegedly become hostile to Jews under Corbyn, who is known to be a long-time supporter of Palestinian rights and a critic of the Israeli government. He, however, repeatedly said that anti-Semitism has no place in the party.
The MPs, challenging his leadership, said they were trying to bring others from across parliament to join them, saying “enough is enough” in keeping silence over apprehensions about the leader’s fitness for office.
“If you want an alternative please help us build it,” said Umunna. “Politics is broken. It doesn’t have to be this way.”
The MPs gave a founding statement in their website saying they would “pursue policies that are evidence-based, not led by ideology”.
In response to the announcement, Corbyn said he was “disappointed” that the group “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”.
“Now more than ever is the time to bring people together to build a better future for us all,” he added.
Meanwhile, British PM Theresa May is currently trying to get MPs to sign her Brexit deal, the main point being the agreement’s so-called “backstop” clause.
Accordingly, the backstop clause is a safety net provision within the withdrawal agreement which prevents a hard border being erected between Northern Ireland, a constituent part of the UK, and the Republic of Ireland, an EU member state, if a trade deal hasn’t been agreed between the EU and the UK by the end of the transition period.
Under the terms of the agreement, the whole of the UK will remain in a customs union in relation to trade in goods with the EU “unless and until” the bloc agrees there is no prospect of a return to a hard border, the report stated.