Emily Thornberry puts Labour splitters on the spot over next moves
The shadow defence secretary has a 'simple question' for Chuka and the gang.
Lots of Labour MPs have made it clear they are very sad to see that seven Labour MPs are quitting the party. But how has the news gone down in Team Corbyn?
In a statement, Corbyn said he was “disappointed that these MPs have felt unable to continue to work together”.
Shortly afterwards, a 'Labour source' was a bit more forthcoiming. "These MPs stood under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership on a manifesto the whole party united around and saw their votes increase. Now they are standing for different policies and on a different platform, they should resign and put them to the test in a by-election,” said the anonymous briefer.
John McDonnell went on TV and called on the seven MPs to do the “honourable thing” and stand down to fight by-elections.
And Emily Thornberry wanted to know exactly what their next move would be:
“The only thing that anyone should do in response to the action of these MPs today is to respectfully and politely ask them a simple question: Do they intend to put up candidates in Labour-Tory marginals, and split the Labour vote?”
Perhaps the angriest response from the senior ranks of the Corbynites was provided by Richard Burgon, who fumed:
“The 'Independent' Group isn’t just an attack on Jeremy's policies For the Many, Not the Few. It's a direct attack on the Labour Party.”
Meanwhile many commentators appeared to agree that the reward for the most measured response on the left went to Unison general secretary Dave Prentis.