An interesting development considering the story posted here right below this one. Luciana Berger and the six other centrist lawmakers from the House of Commons – Chuka Umunna, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker and Ann Coffey – have all quit the Labour party and will form an independent group.
Montreal Gazette (h/t Maurice) Seven British lawmakers quit the main opposition Labour Party on Monday over its approach to issues including anti-Semitism and Brexit — the biggest shake-up in years for one of Britain’s major political parties.
Luciana Berger, one of those who quit Monday, said Labour had become “institutionally anti-Semitic.” “I am leaving behind a culture of bullying, bigotry and intimidation,” she said at a news conference alongside six colleagues.
Labour leaders have admitted that Berger, who is Jewish, has been bullied by some members of her local party in northwest England. Labour has been riven by allegations that the party has become hostile to Jews under Corbyn, a longtime supporter of the Palestinians. Corbyn’s supporters accuse political opponents and right-wing media outlets of misrepresenting his views.
Many Labour members oppose Brexit — which is due in less than six weeks, on March 29 — and want the party to fight to hold a new referendum that could keep Britain in the 28-nation bloc. But Corbyn, who spent decades criticizing the EU before becoming a lukewarm convert to the “remain” cause in the 2016 referendum, is reluctant to do anything that could be seen as defying voters’ decision to leave.
The new group of seven stopped short of forming a new political party, but the seeds have been sown. Their statement said the Labour Party “now pursues policies that would weaken our national security; accepts the narratives of states hostile to our country; has failed to take a lead in addressing the challenge of Brexit and to provide a strong and coherent alternative to the Conservatives’ approach.”