No confidence motions in Luciana Berger withdrawn following Labour row

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand

Moves to hold a vote of no confidence in Labour MP and outspoken leadership critic Luciana Berger have been withdrawn after a heated row in the party ranks.

Ms Berger has been a prominent critic of Jeremy Corbyn over his handling of anti-Semitism and his position on Brexit.

A source in the Leader of the Opposition’s office said the withdrawal of the no confidence motions was "the right decision".

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson had earlier intervened in the controversy to offer his support to Ms Berger in what he called her battle against "bullying hatred" from members of her local party.

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson offered his support to Ms Berger. Credit: PA

He has written to Labour’s general secretary Jennie Formby calling for her to suspend Ms Berger’s constituency Labour party (CLP).

The comments came after shadow chancellor John McDonnell suggested the move to censure the MP was due to concern she may join a breakaway party, not over her attacks on Mr Corbyn’s handling of anti-Semitism.

Mr Watson told the Commons that Ms Berger had his “solidarity” in the showdown with her local party.

Ms Berger, who is Jewish, has been highly critical of Mr Corbyn over how he has dealt with the issue of anti-Semitism.

A number of senior Labour MPs rallied behind Ms Berger after the Liverpool Wavertree Constituency Labour Party called an extraordinary meeting for February 17 to discuss two no-confidence motions.

John McDonnell urges Luciana Berger to 'reject rumours of new breakaway party'. Credit: ITV News

Both have now been withdrawn, a senior Labour source said.

Mr Watson said: “Let us not forget our honourable colleagues on both sides of this House, the subject of death threats, the subject of racist abuse, the subject of misogynistic abuse, the subject of bullying and anti-Semitism.

“As deputy leader of my party let me say to the honourable colleagues facing that abuse and in particular my friend and comrade the member of Liverpool Wavertree (Ms Berger) that she has our solidarity and she has our support as she battles the bullying hatred from members of her own local party.

“They bring disgrace to the party that I love.”

In his letter to Ms Formby calling for the CLP to be suspended he said its behaviour has been “intolerable”.

Earlier, Mr McDonnell urged on Ms Berger to make clear she is not planning to join the "new breakaway party".

The shadow chancellor’s comments drew direct criticism from some Labour MPs.

Chuka Umunna said there should be pressure put on Ms Berger’s Constituency Labour Party (CLP) to treat the MP with respect.

Mr Umunna tweeted: "So a victim of outrageous racism in the Labour party must promise she will not walk because of that racism and then this can all go away.

"How about demanding her CLP treats her with the respect she deserves. How about the party deals with that racism. Words fail me. Totally unacceptable."

Labour MP Chuka Umunna has spoken up for Ms Berger. Credit: PA

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner offered Ms Berger her backing for speaking out against anti-Semitism when asked on Twitter by Mr Umunna what she thought of the situation.

Ms Rayner tweeted: "I don’t know what’s happening in Luciana’s constituency but she has my full support in speaking out and stamping out the racism and antisemitism that’s in our party & wider community."

Ms Berger’s stance on anti-Semitism has seen her face a torrent of abuse from online trolls and she required a police escort at last year’s Labour Party conference after receiving death threats.

The move against Ms Berger comes after she joined other MPs at a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party on Monday in calling for details on the party’s efforts to tackle anti-Semitism to be released.