Politics update: Seven Labour MPs resign to form independent group, ministers warn May to drop threats of no-deal

The independent group of MPs

Good morning. Here’s your daily Politics Update:

Seven Labour MPs resign from the party, citing antisemitism and bullying

The Independent Group


Seven Labour MPs resigned from the party on Monday, citing antisemitism, bullying and intimidation.

In a dramatic press conference on monday morning, the Seven MPs claimed they would all be sitting in parliament as a new, independent group of MPs.

The MPs who have resigned are:

  • Chuka Umunna, MP for Streatham and former shadow business secretary.
  • Luciana Berger, MP for Liverpool Wavertree and former shadow minister for mental health.
  • Gavin Shuker, MP for Luton South and former shadow international development minister.
  • Angela Smith, MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge and former shadow deputy leader of the House of Commons.
  • Chris Leslie, MP Nottingham East and former shadow chancellor.
  • Mike Gapes, MP for Ilford South and former chair of the foreign affairs select committee.

Ann Coffey, MP for Stockport and former parliamentary private secretary to Alistair Darling when he was chancellor of the exchequer.

In a statement in response to the resignations, party leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “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.”

Watson urges Corbyn to change direction

Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson has made a plea to Jeremy Corbyn, urging the party leader to hold a shadow cabinet reshuffle, saying he “no longer recognises” his own party.

Watson’s emotional statement came via video soon after the resignations of seven Labour MPs from the party on Monday morning.

“To put it mildly, we need to be kinder and gentler,” he said. “I love this party. But sometimes I no longer recognise it.” The seven MPs who resigned on Monday cited bullying, intimidation and racism as some of their reasons for leaving.

Watson urged Corbyn to ensure Labour remains a broad church and reshuffle his shadow cabinet to reflect a wider balance of MPs.

Watson also directly addressed the issues of antisemitism also cited by the independent group during their resignation. “They say antisemitism is a light sleeper, this is certainly a wake up call for the Labour party”, Watson said.

“We were slow to acknowledge we had a problem, and even slower to deal with it. Even a single incident of antisemitism shames us all,” he added.

Cabinet ministers tell May to stop threatening no-deal

Theresa May in House of Commons

MPs have told Theresa May to stop using a no-deal Brexit as a threat to negotiate, telling the prime minister that businesses need to be reassured at this critical moment in the Brexit negotiations.

Four cabinet ministers made the demand in a meeting with May on Monday, with David Gauke, Amber Rudd, Greg Clark, and David Mundell telling the prime minister that businesses and manufacturers now needed to be given certainty.

Many believe the move was a planned intervention before the PM is expected to visit Brussels on Wednesday. Downing street described it as a “private meeting” and gave no further details.

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