Seven anti-Corbyn MPs quit the Labour Party over Brexit, anti-Semitism

Seven anti-Corbyn MPs quit the Labour Party over Brexit, anti-Semitism

SEVEN Labour MPs have resigned from the Party over its Leadership under Jeremy Corbyn, which they accuse of being "institutionally anti-Semitic" and "complicit in facilitating Brexit".

In a historic move, the group made up of Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna, Gavin Shuker, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey announced their departure from the main UK opposition party to sit under the new title 'The Independent Group'.

The MPs are all arch-critics of Mr Corbyn and have been vocal in their fury over his refusal to back a second Brexit referendum.

Opening an explosive press conference in Westminster this morning, Ms Berger said she had become "ashamed and embarrassed" to be a Labour member in the Corbyn era.

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".

Ms Berger, who is Jewish, added: "I cannot remain in a party that I have today come to the sickening conclusion is institutionally anti-Semitic."

Former Shadow Chancellor Mr Leslie said Labour had been "taken over" by the "machine politics of the hard left" - insisting Labour had changed rather than his own values.

"This has not been an easy decision for any of us. We have all been Labour MPs for years. But the Labour Party we joined is no longer today's Labour Party," he said.

Mr Leslie also slammed Mr Corbyn's failure to endorse a second referendum on Britain's impending departure from the EU.

He added: "We have to say enough is enough, there has to be a better way forward. There is a better way forward.

"The Labour Party we joined is no longer the same, it has been hijacked by the extreme left."

Ms Coffey, who is the MP for Stockport, said: "Any criticism of the Leadership is responded to with abuse and accusations of treachery... anti-Semitism is rife.

"I leave the Party with great sadness... I look forward to continuing to serve the needs of my constituents. Our values haven't changed. My values haven't changed."

Mr Gapes, who is the MP for Ilford South, said he was "sickened" that Labour "is now a racist and anti-Semitic party".

He added: "I joined the Party more than 50 years ago in 1968... I'm furious that the Labour Leadership is complicit in facilitating Brexit.

"Jeremy Corbyn andthose around are on the wrong side of so many international issues - from Russia, to Syria, to Venezuela.

"I must be true to myself. I must be true to my values."

Mr Umunna, the most high-profile MP among the seven resignees, concluded: "We've taken the first step in leaving the old, tribal politics behind. We invite others to do so... we invite you to leave your parties and form a new consensus for Britain.

"For far too long political parties at Westminster have been failing you, if you're sick of them well guess what, so are we.

"Politics is broken. It doesn't have to be this way, lets change it."

Labour leader Mr Corbyn has responded to the resignations, saying: "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 of 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."