'Enough is enough': Seven MPs quit UK Labour over Brexit row

Seven MPs resign from UK Labour Party

Seven lawmakers split from Britain's opposition Labour Party on Monday, saying that the party leadership's failures over Brexit, anti-Semitism and a culture of bullying in the party had left them no choice.

Seven members of British parliament have quit the Labour Party, blaming its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, for letting anti-Semitism to flourish and failing to support an alternative plan as a no-deal Brexit looms.

Many replies condemned the quoting of the Labour Party anthem "Red Flag", as some activists pointed out that it implied Luciana Berger - who named antisemitism as a key reason for her decision to quit the party - was a "coward" and a "traitor".

Luciana Berger, Gavin Shuker, Chuka Umunna, Ann Coffey, Mike Gapes, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie - have announced their resignation from the Labour party in a surprise press conference on Monday.

At a snap press conference in London, the members of Parliament stood up to explain why they had resigned in protest at Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the party.

Many Labour lawmakers are unhappy with the party's direction under Corbyn, a veteran socialist who took charge in 2015 with strong grassroots backing.

The split has been rumoured for months, with many speculating it would result in the formation of a new centrist party, mirroring Labour's division in the early 1980s when four Labour moderates quit in disgust at the party's militant wing and formed the briefly-popular Social Democratic Party.

But their move underlines the increasing frustration within Labour over Corbyn's reluctance to change his Brexit strategy - the leftist leader and long-time critic of the European Union has stuck to his preference for a new election or his plan to leave the bloc.

There has been anger from some pro-EU Labour MPs at Mr Corbyn's refusal to throw the party's weight behind calls for a so-called People's Vote on Brexit. The Labour Party has lost sight of this, it is no longer a broad church.

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Berger said the Labour Party had become "institutionally anti-Semitic", adding that she was "embarrassed and ashamed" to remain in the party.

But few of them now could pretend there isn't a problem, even prompting an astonishing admission from the party's deputy leader, Tom Watson, who - remember - is also elected by the members who so overwhelmingly supported Jeremy Corbyn.

The new grouping is the sixth-biggest out of eight represented in the House of Commons but is yet to crystallise into a formal political party.

A "statement of independence" on the group's website says it will "pursue policies that are evidence-based, not led by ideology, taking a long-term perspective to the challenges of the 21st century in the national interest".

Corbyn expressed his disappointment that the group had left, referring in a statement to "Labour policies that inspired millions at the last election" when the opposition party saw its biggest increase in vote share since 1945 to win 262 seats.

The party has come under further criticism for what is perceived as institutionalised antisemitism in its ranks.

"The Labour party has turned its back on the British public, their hopes and ambitions", Shuker said, referring to the Brexit controversy.

But only seven MPs have jumped, and it's unclear that others are ready to throw their careers off the side of the ship just yet.

There is also a hard truth to what numerous seven ex-Labour MPs said today about their former party.