Two former shadow cabinet ministers Chuka Umunna and Chris Leslie are among the Labour walkouts announced today.
The other MPs who quit their positions this morning are Luciana Berger, Gavin Shuker, Ann Coffey, Mike Gapes, and Angela Smith. The resignations are the most significant split to hit the Labour Party since the breakaway of the Social Democrat Party in the early 1980s.
The MPs were unequivocally damning of Labour and the party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn and have launched a new group called The Independent Group.
“If you are sick and tired of politics as usual, guess what? So are we”, Chukka Umunna, MP for Streatham said.
“If you want an alternative, please help us build it. The bottom line is this – politics is broken, it doesn’t have to be this way. Let’s change it.”
Chris Leslie, MP for Nottingham East spoke with tears in his eyes, saying: “I’ve been a Labour Party member for more than three decades but the Labour Party I joined is no longer today’s Labour Party.”
He added that the party has been “hijacked by the machine politics of the hard left.”
Ann Coffey, MP for Stockport, said she had become “embarrassed and ashamed to remain in the Labour Party”.
She added: “I cannot remain part of party that I have come to the sickening conclusion is anti-semitic.”
In response, Jeremy Corbyn said: “I am disappointed that these MPs have felt unable to continue to work together for the Labour policies that inspired millions at the last election.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said he is “deeply distressed” by the Labour split, but admitted the party has been “shockingly poor” at dealing with anti-Semitism.
The general secretary of the GMB union Tim Roache said: “I gritted my teeth through the Blair era, when I disagreed with the Labour government on a host of issues. But I stayed in the party because Labour in power is always better than the alternative.
“It would be unforgivable now for those who have resigned to stand against good Labour candidates, risking a Tory government.”