Jeremy Corbyn ‘disappointed’ as seven MPs split from Labour
"Now more than ever is the time to bring people together to build a better future for us all"
18 February, 2019 — By Emily Finch
Jeremy Corbyn from an event last year
Jeremy Corbyn was left “disappointed” after seven Labour MPs left his party to form a new group in Parliament.
Seven MPs including Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna and Angela Smith have launched The Independent Group earlier today (Monday).
They intend to sit as independent candidates which does not require a by-election to be held in their constituency.
The Islington North and Labour leader said in a statement after the split announcement: “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 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.”
The Independent Group said in a statement on their website that “Labour now pursues policies that would weaken our national security” and “has failed to take a lead in addressing the challenge of Brexit and to provide a strong and coherent alternative to the Conservatives’ approach”.
There were rumours for months that a handful of MPs were on the verge of creating a new “centre party”.
Islington South MP and Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry condemned the seven MPs and asked whether The Independent Group would put up candidates in marginal seats.
She said: “Because if they do, we all know that the only effect of their actions will be to keep the Tories in power for another generation, and make a Tory Brexit more likely, not less, the one thing that everyone in our movement should be pledged to avoid.”
The seven MPs who have broken away from Labour are: Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker and Ann Coffey.