Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Two North West MPs amongst group who quit Labour in biggest split since SDP in 1980s

Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger leads a group of seven MPs in a 'Labour split' Photo: PA

Two North West MPs have lead the group of seven Labour MPs who have resigned from the party to sit in the House of Commons as independents.

It's the most significant split to hit the party since the breakaway of the Social Democratic Party in the early 1980s.

Luciana Berger, Liverpool Wavertree MP, and Ann Coffey, the MP for Stockport, joined Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Gavin Shuker, Mike Gapes, and Chuka Umunna. They're amongst the MPs from the party's centrist wing who have been the loudest critics of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, his stance on Brexit and his handling of allegations of anti-Semitism.

Stockport MP Ann Coffey Credit: PA

At a press conference at London's County Hall to announce their move, Mr Leslie - a former shadow chancellor - said that Labour had been "hijacked by the machine politics of the hard left", while Ms Berger said she had come to the "sickening" conclusion that the party is now "institutionally anti-Semitic".

Mr Corbyn said he was "disappointed" at their decision.

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," said the Labour leader in a statement.

"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 alternative plan. When millions are facing the misery of Universal Credit, rising crime, homelessness and poverty, now more than ever is the time to bring people together to build a better future for us all."

– Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party

Ms Berger accidentally introduced herself as "the Labour Party MP", before correcting herself and saying: "I am the Member of Parliament for Liverpool Wavertree".

She said:

"This morning we have all now resigned from the Labour Party. This has been a very difficult, painful, but necessary decision.

"We represent different parts of the country, we are of different backgrounds, we were born of different generations, but we all share the same values.

"From today, we will all sit in Parliament as a new independent group of MPs."

"I have not changed. The core values of equality for all, opportunity for all, anti-racism against all and social justice - the values which I hold really dear and which led me to join the Labour Party as a student almost 20 years ago - remain who I am.

"And yet these values have been consistently and constantly violated, undermined and attacked, as the Labour Party today declines to my constituents and our country before party interests.

"I cannot remain in a party which I have come to the sickening conclusion is institutionally anti-Semitic."

– Luciana Berger, Liverpool Wavertree MP

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy tweeted "This is an awful day for the Labour Party and everyone who needs us".

Sorry, this content isn't available on your device.

The newly-formed Independent Group posted in its first message on Twitter: "Politics is broken. Let's change it. #ChangePolitics"

More on this story