Jeremy Corbyn Confirms Labour Will Back a Second Referendum

Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, has confirmed that the Labour Party will now support a second referendum after the party’s alternative Brexit plan was defeated in the House of Commons.

Corbyn, who is thought to have been encouraged to call for the second vote by senior colleagues on the shadow front bench, said:

“We will back a public vote in order to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit or a disastrous no deal outcome. We will also continue to push for the other available options to prevent those outcomes, including a close economic relationship based on our credible alternative plan or a general election.”

Chris Williamson Suspended From Labour Party

Chris Williamson, the Labour MP for Derby North, has been suspended from the party after allegations that he made antisemitic comments. Williamson, who has denied the allegations, will be suspended until investigations are completed.

Tom Watson, the deputy leader of the party, condemned the words used by Williamson, saying:

“Chris Williamson has produced a long-winded and heavily caveated apology. It is not good enough. If it was in my gift I would have removed the whip from him already.”

The Board of Deputies of British Jews also condemned Williamson, saying:

“We reject Chris Williamson’s half-hearted apology, which appears in any case to have been written by someone else.”

Ian Austin MP Resigns From Labour Party

Ian Austin, the MP for Dudley North, has quit the Labour Party and said that he is “ashamed” of the party. Austin has represented the constituency since 2005 and won by a majority of just 22 votes in 2017.

“I grew up listening to my dad, who was a refugee from the Holocaust, teaching me about the evils of hatred and prejudice. One of the main reasons I joined the Labour Party as a teenager here in Dudley more than 35 years ago was to fight racism and I could never have believed I would be leaving the Labour party because of racism too.”

Tom Watson, the party’s deputy leader, said that the news was “a serious blow” to the Labour Party. Austin said that he didn’t intend to join the new Independent Group of 11 MPs, who had left the Conservative and Labour parties, due to a difference of opinion on Brexit.

Joan Ryan Becomes Eighth MP to Join New Independent Group

Joan Ryan, the MP for Enfield North, has quit the Labour Party to join the seven other former MPs from the party to sit as an independent group.

Ryan announced her decision on Twitter, saying:

“After 4 decades, I have made the terribly difficult decision to resign from the Labour Party. It is the greatest honour of my life to represent the people of #EnfieldNorth. I will continue to represent and speak up for them as a member of the @TheIndGroup of MPs #ChangePolitics”

Seven Labour MPs Quit Party Over Brexit and Anti-Semitism

Seven Labour MPs have quit the party mentioning the leadership’s lack of support for remaining in the European Union and for not tackling anti-semitism. The MPs will sit as independents and are Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker and Ann Coffey.

Disgraced Peterborough MP Expelled From Labour Party

Fiona Onasanya, the disgraced MP for Peterborough who was found guilty of perverting the course of justice, has been expelled from the Labour Party. Onasanya, who has so far refused to stand down, was said by the party to have “failed” to serve her constituents.

Ian Lavery, the Chairman of the Labour Party, said to the Peterborough Telegraph:

“You voted for a Labour party person. Unfortunately the people of Peterborough were failed. We want a Labour party MP here who will do the people of Peterborough a great service”.

Lavery confirmed that Labour would support attempts to displace the MP by using new powers of recall if she didn’t receive a prison sentence of more than one year, which would automatically lead to Onasanya being expelled from the House of Commons.

Serious Allegations Made Against Kate Osamor

The Times newspaper has alleged that Kate Osamor, the Shadow Secretary for International Development, has threatened one of their journalists with physical violence. Osamor threw water over the journalist, who was attempting to ask the shadow Minister about her son who has pleaded guilty to serious drugs offences. The Times also alleged that the Shadow Minister said that she “should have come down here with a bat and smashed your face in” to the journalist.

Osamor left the Labour front bench after the allegations were made, with the Shadow Minister refusing to deny the Times article.

Michelle Stanistreet, the general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, said in a statement:

“Journalists, like any other workers, need to be able to go about their work without fear of threats or assault. It’s completely unacceptable to respond to legitimate press queries, however unwelcome they may be, with physical or verbal abuse.

There is a disturbing and febrile international climate at the moment that is facilitating and legitimising the notion that it is open season on journalists – such insidious and dangerous beliefs, particularly when they emanate from public figures in positions of authority, have to be challenged at every turn.”

John McDonnell, Shadow Chancellor, Says that a Second Referendum May be Inevitable

John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, has said in an interview with the BBC that a second vote on Brexit may now be “inevitable”. He said that the Labour Party would prefer a General Election, but said that in the event that the party couldn’t force an election, they would likely be in favour of a second referendum to clear the deadlock.

McDonnell said that he would vote to remain in any second vote, but that he didn’t feel that the outcome would be inevitable. He said to the BBC:

“So, the caution for them and for all of us, whichever argument you put, is the people will decide. As we saw in the last referendum, it’s very difficult to predict which way the people will decide on this. I’ve seen a lot of polls that have said there has been a shift from Leave to Remain. I’ve also seen other polls saying actually we’re just about the same as we were then”.

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, criticised the plan saying that a second vote by the British electorate was “an attempt to overthrow the will of the people”.

Calls for Labour NEC Member Peter Willsman to Resign

There have been calls today for the resignation of Peter Willsman, a member of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC). Willsman, an ally of the party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn, questioned whether claims of anti-semitism in the party actually existed. The recording was made privately and Willsman made an apology after being confronted with the audio.

Willsman said in a statement:

“Not all of what I said has been accurately reported. But I accept that what I did say, and the way I said it, fell short of the requirement, which I accept, for discussions of contentious issues to be conducted in a fully civil and respectful way. I deeply apologise for any offence caused to those present and those to whom my remarks were reported”.

Tom Watson, the deputy leader of the Labour Party, condemned Willsman and said on Twitter:

“For the avoidance of doubt: Peter Willsman is and always has been a loud mouthed bully. He disgusts me”.

Jennie Formby, the General Secretary of the Labour Party, has also been questioned as to whether she intervened following Willsman’s comments. The President of the Jewish Board of Deputies said on Twitter:

“Was Jennie Formby there to hear what was said? If yes, why did she let Willsman off so lightly?”

Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Labour Party, has yet to comment.

Ken Livingstone Quits Labour Party

Ken Livingstone, the former Mayor of London, has quit the Labour Party following on-going disciplinary action. Livingstone said that he did not though accept comments he made were anti-semitic, although he apologised for any offence caused.

Livingstone said in a statement:

“After much consideration, I have decided to resign from the Labour Party.

The ongoing issues around my suspension from the Labour Party have become a distraction from the key political issue of our time – which is to replace a Tory government overseeing falling living standards and spiralling poverty, while starving our schools and the NHS of the vital resources they need.

We live in dangerous times and there are many issues I wish to speak up on and contribute my experience from running London… from the need for real action to tackle climate change, to opposing Trump’s war-mongering, to the need to end austerity and invest in our future here in Britain.

I do not accept the allegation that I have brought the Labour Party into disrepute – nor that I am in any way guilty of anti-Semitism. I abhor anti-Semitism, I have fought it all my life and will continue to do so.

I also recognise that the way I made a historical argument has caused offence and upset in the Jewish community. I am truly sorry for that.

Under Labour’s new general secretary I am sure there will be rapid action to expel anyone who genuinely has anti-Semitic views. I am loyal to the Labour Party and to Jeremy Corbyn. However any further disciplinary action against me may drag on for months or even years, distracting attention from Jeremy’s policies.

I am therefore, with great sadness, leaving the Labour Party.

We desperately need an end to Tory rule, and a Corbyn-led government to transform Britain and end austerity. I will continue to work to this end, and I thank all those who share this aim and who have supported me in my own political career”.

Livingstone’s decision comes two weeks after Shami Chakrabarti, the Shadow Attorney General, said that he should be expelled following his comments and behaviour. She said:

“It is very difficult to see that any rational decision-maker in the light of what has happened in the last two years could find a place for Mr Livingstone in our party at this moment”.