Labour’s gang of seven: what we know about their moves so far

Written by David Singleton on 18 February 2019 in Diary

Watch: Anne Coffey, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie, Mike Gapes, Luciana Berger, Gavin Shuker and Chuka Umunna have all had enough.

Seven MPs all confirmed that they were resigning the Labour whip at a dramatic press conference in Westminster on Monday morning.

It comes after weeks of fevered speculation on this website and elsewhere.

Here’s what we know about their plans so far:

  • They are leaving Labour to sit as independent MPs under the banner of ‘The Independent Group’.
  • Their departure is the biggest split in Labour since the “gang of four” left the party in 1981 to form the Social Democratic party.
  • BUT they are not forming a new party yet. They are said to be hoping to develop one over time.
  • Neither do they have a leader.
  • They will not merge with the Lib Dems or any other established political  party.
  • ‘The Independent Group’ is already up and running on Twitter. By midday on Monday it already had 18,000 followers.
  • The group reveals on their website that they are funded by ‘Gemini A Ltd’, a secretive company founded by Shuker on 16th January.
  • They will have their first formal meeting in the next few days to assign roles and responsibilities.

Speaking at this morning’s press conference, Umunna explained that “you don't join a political party to spend years fighting the people within it". He said they were taking the first step to forming a new movement and called on politicians from other parties to join them.

Leslie said Labour had been “hijacked by the machine politics of the hard left” and was no longer the party he and others had joined.

And Berger stated: "I cannot remain in a party that I have today come to the sickening conclusion is institutionally anti-Semitic.






(@BBCPolitics) February 18, 2019





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