Seven MPs quit UK Labour Party | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 19, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, February 19, 2019

ROW OVER BREXIT, ANTI-SEMITISM

Seven MPs quit UK Labour Party

A group of MPs from Britain's opposition Labour Party broke away yesterday in protest at leader Jeremy Corbyn's support for Brexit and his failure to stamp out anti-Semitism.

The seven MPs included Chuka Umunna, who has led a campaign for a second referendum that could stop Brexit and was once seen as a potential leader of the centre-left party.

Umunna called for a centrist "alternative" in British politics as the rebel MPs complained about the far-left turn the party had taken under veteran socialist Corbyn.

"The bottom line is this -- politics is broken, it doesn't have to be this way, let's change it," Umunna said at a hastily-arranged press conference in London.

The seven MPs will form a breakaway independent group in parliament, undermining Corbyn as he attempts to steer the party through the highly divisive issue of Brexit.

Many Labour voters, particularly in northern England, chose to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum -- but a majority of Labour MPs and members supported staying in.

The referendum cut across party political allegiances also in the ruling Conservative Party, which is now deeply divided between pro-EU moderates and Brexit hardliners.

The Labour rebellion is unlikely to make a major difference in crucial upcoming votes on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal but the move was welcomed by pro-EU forces.

Corbyn said he was "disappointed" by his MPs' decision.

"Now more than ever is the time to bring people together to build a better future for us all," he said, pointing to the party's strong result in the last general election in 2017.

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