Labour in crisis as seven moderate MPs QUIT 'racist, anti-Semitic' party in protest against Jeremy Corbyn

A group led by Chuka Umunna announced they were walking out at an event in Central London.

The other MPs involved are Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Ann Coffey and Gavin Shuker.

They are forming a new grouping called "The Independent Group" and under the slogan #changepolitics.

The rebels are furious at Mr Corbyn's Brexit policy and his failure to tackle anti-Semitism in the party.

Ms Berger, who has faced a torrent of abuse from far-left activists, said: "I cannot remain in a party that I have today come to the sickening conclusion is institutionally anti-Semitic."

Mr Leslie, the former Shadow Chancellor, added: "We can no longer knock on doors and support a government led by Jeremy Corbyn and the team around him."

He said: "This has not been an easy decision for any of us. We have all been Labour MPs for years. But the Labour party we joined is no longer today's Labour party."

And Mr Gapes blasted: "I am sickened that the Labour Party is now a racist and anti-Semitic party.

"I am furious that the Labour leadership is complicit in facilitating Brexit. A Corbyn Labour government would threaten our national security and international alliances."

Laying out the new group's platform, Mr Shuker said: "We back well-regulated business but expect them to provide decent, secure jobs.

"Government should work to remove barriers of discrimination that hold people back. We believe in a free press and a politics that doesn’t bow to the louder voice.

"We are accountable to those who elect us. These are values shared by a majority of the British people – once considered mainstream but not any more."

Rumours of a split in Labour have swirled ever since Mr Corbyn took power in 2015.

But the party's divisions were temporarily reduced in the wake of the 2017 General Election where Labour did surprisingly well.

Mr Corbyn said in a statement today: "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 and saw us increase our vote by the largest share since 1945.

“Labour won people over on a programme for the many not the few – redistributing wealth and power, taking vital resources into public ownership, investing in every region and nation, and tackling climate change.

“The Conservative Government is bungling Brexit, while Labour has set out a unifying and credible alternative plan. When millions are facing the misery of Universal Credit, rising crime, homelessness and poverty, now more than ever is the time to bring people together to build a better future for us all."

Three other Labour MPs have walked out of the party in the past year.

Pro-Brexit renegade Frank Field quit in protest at far-left bullying, while John Woodcock and Ivan Lewis resigned while under investigation over sex allegations.

The split will revive memories of the 1980s Social Democratic Party, which was set up by a group of Labour rebels fed up with left-wing leader Michael Foot.

The SDP briefly came close to winning a General Election, before fizzling out and merging with the Liberals to form the modern-day Lib Dems.

Some pro-Corbyn MPs acted with fury at news of the Labour rebellion.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle dubbed the centrists "cowards", and called on them to quit their Commons seats and trigger a by-election.

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