Behind the Labour split: A bid to realign British politics

Labour's Dudley North MP Ian Austin

"The Labour party we joined that we campaigned for and believed in is no longer today's Labour Party".

Updating its United Kingdom political betting markets, Paddy Power has cut the price of Jeremy Corbyn being replaced as Labour Party leader before the end of the year from 3/1 to 5/4.

Decent Labour MPs have been in despair for months, privately sharing their angst both with each other and Conservatives too. They called themselves "The Independent Group", with the tagline: "Politics is broken".

"Some of our politicians have put selfish political ideology ahead of the national interest and people's livelihoods and left us facing the catastrophic prospect of leaving the European Union next month with no deal", Hackitt said.

Corbyn said he was "disappointed" by the MPs' decision.

"I am sickened that Labour is now perceived by many as a racist, anti-Semitic party", said MP Mike Gapes, adding that "prominent anti-Semites" were readmitted to the party. These are the remarks that will, no doubt, see much speculation and discussion about a new party, and the lessons of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

"This has been a very hard, painful but necessary decision", Luciana Berger, one of the seven MPs who have resigned, told reporters at a press conference Monday. The seven said they did not have a leader but would assign roles in the next few days.

The seven Labour MPs who announced their defections to "The Independent Group" in Westminster on Monday morning were Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker, and Ann Coffey.

Berger, a Jewish lawmaker who employed a bodyguard to protect her from abusive Corbyn supporters when she attended the party's annual conference in Liverpool a year ago, said the leadership's failure to deal with anti-Semitism had left her with no option.

"Marxism is now masquerading as the Labour Party".

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"I am leaving behind a culture of bullying, bigotry, and intimidation", she said.

Mr Corbyn said he regretted their decision but described them as a "small number" out of the party's 248 MPs.

Around 20 Labour MPs are rumored to be mulling over following their former colleagues, but those dissatisfied with the party's direction may see staying within it as a more productive way of influencing issues like Brexit.

Finance minister Philip Hammond and business minister Greg Clark - who are on the pro-European wing of Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party - as well as opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, are due to address the conference.

Their statement said the Labour Party "now pursues policies that would weaken our national security; accepts the narratives of states hostile to our country; has failed to take a lead in addressing the challenge of Brexit and to provide a strong and coherent alternative to the Conservatives' approach". For others, Corbyn was just not up to the demands of his office, they said.

For now, The Independent Group is not officially a party, has no leader or any detailed policy program.

Unite union head Len McCluskey called on the MPs to step down and fight local by-elections under their new grouping so that other Labour members could take their place as MPs.

Earlier however, deputy leader Mr Watson - who has been critical in the past of efforts to deal with anti-Semitism in the party - said he feared there could be further resignations.

"Yet in all good conscience, I can no longer justify paying subs to a party which I now regard as institutionally anti-Semitic".

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