Labour MPs (left to right) Ann Coffey, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie, Mike Gapes, Luciana Berger, Gavin Shuker and Chuka Umunna after they announced their resignations during a press conference at County Hall in Westminster, and the formation of a new political party, which will be known as the Independent Group.
So, seven Labour MPs, after much soul searching, have decided to leave to form a new political party. Why didn’t they do that sooner?
Labour has been throughout its history to be one contradiction after another. They aren’t what many party members claim to be a broad church. One would think that they would look at what happened and reflect on why they got to this stage, but they have spent all day pouring vitriol on each other… and both their political opponents and the media are having a right laugh at their expense.
The MPs claim that the party’s failure to tackle issues such as anti-semitism and brexit were responsible for their departure. The reality is that many of them have been openly critical of current left-wing party leader Jeremy Corbyn since he was unexpectedly elected, twice in 2015 and 2016.
There have been unfair comparisons with the MPs who resigned today with what happened in 1981, when a significant number of Labour MPs quit to form the late Social Democratic Party. But the difference is that those who set up the SDP had a specific set of principles and values… the current crop of MPs don’t have any whatsoever– they seem only to be in it for themselves. It has been rumoured that more anti-Corbyn MPs are expected to jump ship over the next few days.
As in 1981, the current situation only benefits the Conservative government, who despite their current problems over brexit, and pushing through and continuing a highly controversial austerity programme, don’t now have to worry about Labour getting elected.
This schism doesn’t deserve to be a major news story, but that’s where we are. This will be expected to dominate the agenda for the time being. Meanwhile, the main issues of real importance get ignored.