Profiled: The seven MPs who have resigned the Labour whip

Here’s all you need to know about the seven MPs who resigned from Jeremy Corbyn’s party.

– Luciana Berger

The 37-year-old MP for Liverpool Wavertree has been an outspoken critic of Labour’s leadership, and of Jeremy Corbyn over his handling of anti-Semitism within the party and his Brexit position.

Her stance on anti-Semitism has seen her face a torrent of abuse from online trolls and she required a police escort at last year’s Labour Party conference after receiving death threats.

Ms Berger, who is heavily pregnant and Jewish, recently faced a vote of no confidence by her local constituency party, which was eventually withdrawn after a heated row in the Labour ranks.

During the press conference announcing the split, revealing she joined the Labour Party as a student 20 years ago, Ms Berger said she had become “embarrassed and ashamed to remain”.

Elected in 2010, during the last general election she secured a 29,466 majority, and has previously been shadow minister for public health and mental health, and currently sits on the Health and Social Care Committee.

Ms Berger, a remainer, is a supporter of the People’s Vote campaign for a second referendum on Brexit.

– Chuka Umunna

One of the leading voices in the People’s Vote campaign, Mr Umunna has been the MP for Streatham in south London since 2010.

At Monday’s press conference, Mr Umunna said politics is “broken” and Westminster parties have been “failing” the public.

He served under Ed Miliband as shadow business secretary between 2011 and 2015, and stood in the 2015 party leadership race, but withdrew after only three days, saying he was “uncomfortable” with “the added level of scrutiny that came with being a leadership candidate”.

The 40-year-old quit the frontbench the day after Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader, citing differences over the UK’s relationship with the EU.

Mr Umunna won a 68.5% share of his constituency vote at the 2017 general election and holds a majority of more than 26,000. 

– Angela Smith

The 57-year-old MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge in South Yorkshire was first elected in May 2005 for Sheffield, Hillsborough. She won the 2017 general election contest with a 1,322 majority.

Last month Mr Corbyn was criticised after he appeared to refuse to give way to Ms Smith during his Commons Brexit statement, which she suggested happened because she supports a second referendum.

Over the years, the veteran MP has formed part of a number of parliamentary select committees, including transport and environment, food and rural affairs.

In her statement as the Labour Party split was announced, highly critical of Mr Corbyn, Ms Smith said since his election as leader in 2015 there has been a change in the Labour Party that has “destroyed the proud legacy built by our predecessors”.

She also revealed that by the age of five she knew her voting intention, but that the current Labour Party is “characterised by lazy, populist thinking”.

– Chris Leslie

The 46-year-old was first elected in Shipley in West Yorkshire in May 1997 – a seat he held until May 2005. He was re-elected in his current Nottingham East seat in May 2010.

Previously the shadow chancellor, from May 2015 to September the same year, he was replaced by John McDonnell after Jeremy Corbyn became Labour leader.

A soft Brexit supporter, he has previously pushed for Britain to stay in the single market and customs union, and last week was vocal over Labour’s stance.

Attacking Labour’s position, he said “we are being played for fools by the leadership”, as he branded Brexit an “unmitigated disaster”.

In a video statement posted on his Twitter account, Mr Leslie said he has been a Labour member for more than three decades and that the party he joined is not the same as today’s.

“I did everything I could to save it, but it has now been hijacked by the machine politics of the hard left,” he added.

– Ann Coffey

The MP for Stockport in Greater Manchester spent more than four decades in the Labour Party, and said she thought she would be a member “until the end of [her] life” when she resigned the Labour whip on Monday.

A supporter of a second referendum on Brexit, Ms Coffey, 72, was one of two MPs who tabled a motion of no-confidence in Jeremy Corbyn the day after the EU referendum. She said at the time: “The result of the European Union referendum leaves this country in a mess.

“Leaders have to take responsibility and [Jeremy Corbyn] has to take his share of responsibility for this, and he should resign.”

Announcing that she will now sit as an independent MP on Monday, Ms Coffey said the Labour Party “is no longer a broad church”.

She said: “Any criticism is responded to with abuse and accusations of treachery. Anti-Semitism is rife and tolerated.”

First elected in 1992, Ms Coffey has held a majority of almost 14,500 since the 2017 general election.

– Mike Gapes

A veteran of the House of Commons, Mr Gapes has been the MP for Ilford South in London since 1992, and currently holds a majority of more than 31,500.

A Labour member for 50 years, he was appointed the first national student organiser of the Labour Party in 1977.

When he resigned the Labour whip on Monday, the 66-year-old said he was “sickened that the Labour Party is now a racist, anti-Semitic party” and “furious that the Labour leadership is complicit in facilitating Brexit”.

A former chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, he also said that a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn would “threaten our national security and international alliances”.

In December 2018, Mr Gapes signed a letter in The Guardian calling for a second vote on Brexit.

He, alongside 16 other MPs across Parliament, said: “We call on all party leaders and parliament to trust the people with the final say so we can face the future united.”

– Gavin Shuker

The 37-year-old has been the MP for Luton South since 2010. During the 2017 general election he secured the seat with a majority of 13,925.

Between October 2013 and September 2015 he was the shadow minister for international development, and held the same post for the environment and rural affairs between March 2011 and October 2013.

He also currently sits on the women and equalities select committee.

In a statement issued following his split from Labour, he said the party is “riddled with anti-Semitism, it presents a threat to our national security and it’s perfectly content to enable the hard Tory Brexit”.

In December 2018 he was one of a number of MPs to call for a second Brexit referendum. Last year the Corbyn critic lost a no-confidence vote put forward by his local constituency party.

Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS