Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Another party splintering in the UK?

The resignation of seven MPs might not seem to be a big deal, but how often do such things happen?

7 Labour Lawmakers Resign in U.K., in Rebuke of Jeremy Corbyn
Seven lawmakers from Britain’s opposition Labour Party resigned on Monday to protest their leader’s approach toward the country’s withdrawal from the European Union and his handling of accusations of anti-Semitism.

The party, which is led by Jeremy Corbyn, has been divided by growing tensions for months, with some centrist lawmakers struggling to reconcile their positions with the leadership’s more leftist policies…

[Luciana] Berger said that the lawmakers would sit in Parliament as an independent grouping. “I cannot remain in a party that I have come to the sickening conclusion is institutionally anti-Semitic,” she said.

[Chris] Leslie said that the Labour Party had been “hijacked by the machine politics of the hard left,” and criticized “Labour’s betrayal on Europe.”

Responding to the announcement by the members of Parliament, Mr. Corbyn said, “I am disappointed that these M.P.s have felt unable to continue to work together for the Labour policies that inspired millions at the last election and saw us increase our vote by the largest share since 1945.”

“Labour won people over on a program for the many, not the few,” he added. “The Conservative Government is bungling Brexit,” he said, referring to Britain’s exit from the European Union, “while Labour has set out a unifying and credible alternative plan.” …

[T]he resignation of the seven Labour lawmakers on Monday reflects the strains that Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union has placed on a political system dominated by two main parties, each plagued by schisms…

Now, with the British government’s deal on the terms of its departure in jeopardy, and the threat of an economically damaging exit rising, many members of the Labour Party have expressed support for a second referendum on the issue…

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