Jeremy Corbyn has called for Labour defectors to submit themselves to by elections after they quit the party to start a rival group.
Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gape, Gavin Shuker and Anne Coffey announced they were resigning today and will sit in Parliament as the Independent Group.
Leslie said Labour has been “hijacked by the machine politics of the left”, while Mike Grapes called the party “racist and antisemitic”.
But Corbyn reminded the group that Labour policies “inspired millions at the last election and saw (the party) increase the vote by the largest share since 1945”.
He said: “Labour won people over on a programme for the many not the few – redistributing wealth and power, taking vital resources into public ownership, investing in every region and nation, and tackling climate change.
“The Conservative government is bungling Brexit, while Labour has set out a unifying and credible alternative plan. When millions are facing the misery of Universal Credit, rising crime, homelessness and poverty, now more than ever is the time to bring people together to build a better future for us all.”
According to the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg, Corbyn has since called for them all to submit themselves to by elections – reminding them they all stood on labour platform in election only in 2017.
The Streatham Constituency Labour Party have since confirmed they are writing to Chuka Umunna asking him to call a by-election.
This would lead to elections in the following areas:
- Liverpool Wavertree
- Nottingham East
- Penistone and Stocksbridge
- Ilford South
- Luton South