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7 Labor MPs Mutiny, Leave Party Over Brexit, Anti-Semitism

REUTERS

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief

Seven Labor Members of Parliament (MPs) quit their party Monday after expressing disapproval of leader Jeremy Corbyn’s approval of Brexit and lingering accusations of anti-Semitism.

The MPs say Corbyn has allowed Britain’s Official Opposition to be  “hijacked by the machine politics of the hard Left,” Reuters reports. They will sit as Independents in the House of Commons for now.

The accusations of Corbyn enabling anti-Semitism date back to 2012, when he defended a crude mural that depicted Jews as rich bankers exploiting the working classes. When the mural was again discussed in 2018, Corbyn was tardy in withdrawing his support. (RELATED: Ocasio-Cortez And UK Labor Leader Talk, Tweet Mutual Admiration)

People hold up placards and Union flags as they gather for a demonstration organised by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism outside the office of the Labour Party. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been under increasing pressure to address multiple allegations of anti-Semitism within the party. (Tolda Akmen/AFP/Getty Images)

People hold up placards and Union flags as they gather for a demonstration organized by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism outside the office of the Labour Party. (Tolda Akmen/AFP/Getty Images)

In the 1980s, Corbyn was affiliated with the Labour Movement Campaign for Palestine, which vilified Israel as “the Zionist state as racist, exclusivist, expansionist and a direct agency of imperialism.” The opposition leader denies that he is anti-Semitic.

The party unrest is good news for British Prime Minister Theresa May, who rules an increasingly disgruntled and divided Conservative Party caucus that almost removed her from power.

Some Tory MPs have claimed that May has dragged her feet on Brexit — the plan for Britain to leave the European Union (EU) that was approved by voters in a 2016 referendum. The U.K. will officially leave the EU in just over one month. (RELATED: Theresa May Will Hold On To Her Job As Prime Minister)

Prime Minister Theresa May sits down in Parliament after the vote on May's Brexit deal, in London, Britain, January 15, 2019 in this screengrab taken from video. Reuters TV via REUTERS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC1C5CCEC0A0

Prime Minister Theresa May sits down in Parliament after the vote on May’s Brexit deal, in London, Britain, Jan. 15, 2019 in this screengrab taken from video. Reuters TV via REUTERS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

“The Labour party we joined — that we campaigned for and believed in — is no longer today’s Labour Party … it has now been hijacked by the machine politics of the hard Left,” MP Chris Leslie told reporters at a news conference.

“Evidence of Labour’s betrayal on Europe is now visible for all to see. Offering to actually enable this government’s Brexit — constantly holding back from allowing the public a final say.”

The seven Parliamentarians are Chris Leslie, Luciana Berger, Angela Smith, Gavin Shuker, Chuka Umunna, Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey.

Although Labor has shared government with the Conservatives over the past century, the Socialist Party has had its best electoral success when it moves to the center.

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