TODAY, seven Labour MPs have announced their resignation from the party and their intention to form a new alliance called ‘The Independent Group’. The seven are Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker and Anne Coffey.
Here is Luciana Berger today, condemning Labour as institutionally anti-Semitic.
Ms Berger said she had become embarrassed and ashamed to remain in the Labour Party. She said that she had not changed, but the party had. She said racism and hatred against Jewish people had become worse and that she was leaving behind a culture of bullying, bigotry and intimidation.
This cannot have been an easy decision for these Labour MPs. It is always difficult to know if you should stay and fight injustice or if things have become so bad that you leave. They chose to leave.
It should be noted that Ms Berger is eight months pregnant, and the stress and strain of this decision must have taken its toll on her and her unborn child. We wish her all the best for when baby comes.
Those who voted for Labour, however, in the past election, when it became very clear that the party was anti-Semitic and encouraging anti-Semitism, should take a long hard look at themselves. Our own Karen Harradine, as far back as 2016, has been documenting the rise of anti-Semitism within the Labour party, for example here and here.
Many voters knew this virus was wrecking the once great Labour party (if you are on the Left) but voted for them anyway. Shame on them. Others preferred wilful blindness. Shame on them also.
There is no blindness now – you can either be complicit in this anti-Semitism or fight it. We will fight it.