Seven MPs resign from Labour over Brexit row

Labour's Dudley North MP Ian Austin

Labour's Dudley North MP Ian Austin

Ann Coffey told the press conference: "I thought I would be in the Labour Party for the rest of my life."But political parties are not an end in themselves in a parliamentary democracy".

But it was the testimony of the less high profile MPs in today's grouping which will have perhaps struck even more of a chord with many of their former colleagues not present.

A Labour Party spokesman said: 'We don't comment on individual membership statuses'. "It's all well and good leaving because you believe the party has moved away from you, but you can often achieve more from being inside the tent".

"You might come from a Labour background but you might come from other political traditions".

Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the TSSA transport union which backs a second EU referendum, said: "I'd urge anyone in our party thinking of bolting not to do so". Mike Gapes said it was now a question of lawmakers' moral integrity whether to stay in Labour.

"Being an extra party in British politics - a very much two-party system - is a hard game to play". One member allegedly called her a "disruptive Zionist".

"The Conservative Government is bungling Brexit, while Labour has set out a unifying and credible alternative plan". In some ways, Coffey quitting the party today may mark the end of almost three years of that particular internal struggle. He said that those who were rumoured to be on the cusp of leaving were "Labour through and through" and "wouldn't want this".

The roots of Monday's split can be traced back to Corbyn's unexpected election in 2015.

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"I am furious that the leadership is complicit in facilitating Brexit, which will cause great economic, social and political damage to our country", said Mike Gapes, one of the departing MPs. Yet the fact is that Corbyn can say he increased votes and seats in 2017. If more Labour MPs join, pro-EU Tories could be tempted to follow if they feel there's potential to create a legitimate power in the center of British politics.

"We expect and hope that there will be other MPs who will join us". At its simplest, it is about doctrinal diversity and collegiality: that there are many definitions of Labour's socialism, and within the boundaries of democratic socialism all are welcome within the Labour Party. Labour is also split. Already the Jewish Labour Movement is considering whether it has a future.

The MP, who has been the target of anti-Semitic abuse and was provided with personal protection at last year's party conference, said she had become "embarrassed and ashamed to remain in the Labour Party".

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

The Labour MPs who quit in 1981 eventually became today's Liberal Democrats, a centrist party that has failed to topple the dominance of the two bigger parties. "As this is so contentious, members of [the executive committee] are voting". He has been an outspoken critic of Corbyn.

He added: "I joined the Party more than 50 years ago in 1968".

In a boiling hot, cramped room in a swish venue on the south bank of the Thames this morning, a small group of MPs made a big statement.

The broad church mentality is key to preventing division from turning into rancour, but has too often been absent within the contemporary Labour Party.

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