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Independent Group: Ex-Labour and Tory MPs hold first meeting


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PA

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The Independent Group is made up of eight former Labour MPs and three ex-Conservative MPs

The Independent Group of MPs is holding their first meeting since resigning from their parties last week.

The eight former Labour MPs and three ex-Conservative MPs arrived at the Westminster venue as pro-Brexit and Remain demonstrators waved placards.

Ex-Labour MP Luciana Berger said they would talk about “how we can make a difference to fix our broken politics”.

The government’s handling of Brexit and Labour’s Brexit stance were among their reasons for leaving their parties.

The Independent Group is expected to work out who will speak for them at Parliamentary occasions, such as responding to the Chancellor’s Spring Statement, and who will take on the job of whip, to organise their voting in Parliament.

From Labour, Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Mike Gapes, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Ann Coffey, Gavin Shuker, and Joan Ryan all left last week.

Along with the party’s Brexit stance, they also criticised the leadership’s handling of anti-Semitism.

Ian Austin became the ninth MP to quit Labour last week, blaming leader Jeremy Corbyn for “creating a culture of extremism and intolerance”, but he has said he has no plans to join the Independent Group.

Jeremy Corbyn has said the Labour MPs who have quit the party should “resign and put themselves up for election”.

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Ex-Labour MP Luciana Berger said they would talk about “how we can make a difference to fix our broken politics”

Conservative MPs Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston followed the Labour resignations and joined the Independent Group.

The three MPs blamed “a shift to the right” in their party and the government’s “disastrous handling of Brexit” as reasons for their departure.



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