Europe Politics

Seven UK lawmakers resign from Labour party citing 'Brexit,' 'bullying' and 'anti-Semitism'

Key Points
  • Labour's Brexit stance and its handling of anti-Semitism has resulted in seven lawmakers leaving the party.
  • Labour's leadership stands accused of a culture of bullying and closing down debate.
Labour MP Luciana Shuker announces her resignation from the Labour Party at a press conference on February 18, 2019 in London, England.
Leon Neal | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Seven U.K. lawmakers announced their resignation from the U.K.'s main opposition Labour party on Monday.

Speaking first, lawmaker Luciana Berger said that from today the group would sit in the U.K. Parliament as a new batch of MPs, known as "The Independent Group."

Berger cited the party leadership's failure to address racism against Jewish people as her main reason for leaving as well as an ongoing culture of "bullying."

"I have become embarrassed and ashamed to remain in the Labour Party," the Liverpool Wavertree MP said. "I have come to the sickening conclusion that it is institutionally anti-Semitic."

Fellow lawmaker Chris Leslie lambasted the Labour party for forgetting its earlier Brexit commitments and said the party had been hijacked by the "machine politics of the hard left."

While Labour's leadership has opposed the U.K. Conservative Party's Brexit plan, there has been signs in recent weeks that it could offer support to U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May. Leslie called Labour's position on Brexit a "betrayal on Europe".

The lawmaker then took a direct shot at the leader of the Labour party Jeremy Corbyn accusing him and his senior party allies of abuse, anti-Semitism, and closing down debate with a "narrow, outdated vision."

"The past three years have shown how irresponsible it would be to allow this leader of the opposition to take the office of prime minister of the United Kingdom," he said.

Angela Smith, Gavin Shuker, Chuka Umunna, Ann Coffey And Mike Gapes are the remaining five lawmakers that make up the breakaway group.

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn addresses delegates on the final day of the Labour Party conference on September 26, 2017 in Brighton, England.
Dan Kitwood | Getty Images

In a statement posted on the Labour website, Corbyn said he was disappointed by the decision and that now was a time for people to come together.

"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."

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