Seven pro-EU Labour MPs resigned from the party on February 18 and called on other parliamentarians from rival parties to join them in solidarity to show support for Britain to remain a member of the European Union.
Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Mike Gapes, Chris Leslie, Ann Coffey, Angela Smith, and Gavin Shuker all expressed rage at their former party’s stance on Brexit, but also when it came to international relations issues accused Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, of tolerating “institutional anti-Semitic” views.
The group hopes to establish a new political platform that will counter Corbyn’s attempt to transform Labour into a vehicle for his radical leftist views on society and the economy. Corbyn has a history of defending Trotskyites, IRA members, Arab Marxists, and his own belief that the UK should turn its back on NATO and the trans-Atlantic relationship with the United States has faced criticism for years for his perceived hostility towards the state of Israel and his very public support for radical Palestinian liberations organisations.
The rebel MPs have thus far refrained from joining the pro-EU Liberal Party, suggesting the party lost its credibility by supporting David Cameron’s government. Nonetheless, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable said that his party was open to “working with like-minded groups and individuals in order to give the people a final say on Brexit, with the option to remain in the EU” if a second Brexit referendum can be organised.
The groups expressed their hope that more Labour and Conservative MPs would share their platform, but a large number of the parliamentarians linked to the Tony Blair and Gordon Brown eras have said they will stick with the party for the time being. London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan said on Facebook that his now-former Labour colleagues were friends, but he will not join the new platform.
The country’s second biggest union, Unison, called on Labour to take a “long and hard look” on the reasons that the group of MP opted to quit. Those who left the party could face the prospect of deselection in their respective constituencies as some of the party members had wanted other candidates in the first place.
Corbyn expressed his disappointment at the MPs’ decision and noted that all seven were elected on the Labour Party’s left-wing platform in June 2017 when, as he noted, they gained the biggest share of the vote since 1945.