Monday 18 February 2019 9:14 am

Labour MPs expected to resign today over divisions on Brexit and antisemitism


Reporter at City A.M. covering City politics, transport and law. Get in touch: alexandra.rogers@cityam.com

Reporter at City A.M. covering City politics, transport and law. Get in touch: alexandra.rogers@cityam.com

Rumblings of a Labour party split look set to reach a head as sources told the media the disaffected MPs would resign today.

Senior party sources told the BBC that the leadership was expecting a handful to resignations while Sky News said the group would make a statement later this morning on "the future of British politics".

Those thought to be seriously considering a breakaway from their party include former shadow chancellor Chris Leslie, Chuka Umunna and Luciana Berger, who recently faced deselection after her local party put forward a no-confidence motion against her. Berger has said she feels the motion was motivated by anti-semitism, allegations of which have gripped the party under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.

Read more: McDonnell denies Labour MPs may quit party over Brexit

Labour MP Stephen Kinnock admitted to the BBC this morning that there would "probably be some kind of splintering".

He continued: "We have a duty to deliver for people that we are elected to represent and to change the country for the good and the Labour party is the vehicle to do that."

He urged those thinking of breaking away to "stay in and fight".

Yesterday shadow chancellor John McDonnell attempted to suppress talks of a split, arguing there was "no need" for Labour MPs to resign over Brexit.

Read more: Labour moderates are approaching breaking point

Asked by the BBC on the apparent impending split, McDonnell replied: "I don't see why there's a need to. On all the issues that people have raised that has the potential for a split, we're dealing with. We're holding the party together on Brexit, those who are saying they'll split if we don't have a people's vote – well we've still kept that option on the table. Why split over that, it's ridiculous."


McDonnell said that if Labour was to split it would "be like the 1980s" where the party lost seats to the Conservatives and allowed Margaret Thatcher into Number 10. He said those who were reported to be on the cusp of leaving were "Labour through and through" and "wouldn't want this".

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