The UK Conservative Government and the opposition Labour Party are currently in turmoil after a string of resignations from both parties led to the formation of the new ‘Independent Group’ in the UK Parliament.
3 Conservative MPs and 8 Labour MPs have so far left their respective parties to join this new group. The Independent Group have a centrist outlook and are primarily concerned with Brexit. The group oppose Britain leaving the EU and want a second, so called ‘People’s Vote’ on the issues before Brexit is implemented on 29th March this year.
More defections to the new group are rumoured to be due in the coming days and weeks with some high profile names rumoured to be leaving, even from within the Cabinet itself.
While the Conservative defectors left due to Brexit primarily, Labour MPs have additionally been concerned with the direction of the Labour Party under socialist leader Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn is on record as showing support and sympathy for groups like the IRA, Hamas and Hezbollah as well as condemning Israel and more broadly in dragging the Labour Party to the far left fringes of politics.
Labour have also been facing an anti-semitism row for several years now with some MP’s saying the party has a ‘systemic anti-semitism problem’. Jewish MP Luciana Berger who was among the initial ‘gang of 7’ to leave the Labour Party described ‘shocking anti-semitism in my party’.
A 9th Labour MP, Ian Austin, also left the party but has decided against joining the Independent Group as he himself has voted in support of Brexit.
With more resignations and defections due, it remains to be seen how much of a political force this new group maybe become in the UK Parliament. As of today it is the joint 4th biggest grouping of MP’s but will overtake the Liberal Democrat Party if any new members join.
The new group has faced calls for their members to submit to by-elections since their defections but have ruled out doing so with the next UK general election not due until 2022.