Just as we might be winning the anti-Brexit case

Duncan Bowie regrets the recent resignations

Seven Labour MPs are resigning for very different reasons – some on the issue of antisemitism; some on the issue of the Labour Party leadership’s position on Brexit; some because they are no longer in agreement with broader LP policy (namely, the drift to the left); some say the LP is no longer a tolerant party and is now more autocratic; some because they have a personal antipathy to Jeremy Corbyn (or are no longer part of a leadership group/in the shadow cabinet). The group has no collective policy position.

We regret resignations and neither celebrate resignations as “good riddance” or want any more resignations. The LP is a broad alliance of the left/centre left – MPs should not get elected on a Labour manifesto and then say they no longer agree with the party policy on which they were elected. Policy has not changed since the 2017 election.

Labour has not handled antisemitism allegations well and should have taken firmer action. But some are using the issue as a way to attack the party leadership. Antisemitism should not be the most important issue within the LP.

The party is about a collective leadership – it is not just about whether you are for or against Corbyn.

We support staying in the European Union and a ‘confirmation’ referendum if Parliament agrees any deal, and staying in the EU if Parliament cannot agree a deal. For pro-EU MPs to resign now is highly destructive, just at the time Remainers may be winning the argument and there is a real possibility of stopping Brexit. This is making the Tories’ task (and the delivery of Brexit either as a deal or without a deal) easier.

Any MP resigning from the party should immediately resign their seat and fight a by-election as an independent. The statement issued by the seven MPs is hardly a policy manifesto on which they could win by-elections and they know it. They are betraying not just their local LP members but the electorate who voted them into Parliament.

Duncan Bowie

Duncan Bowie was a senior lecturer at University of Westminster. His most recent books are Radical Solutions to the Housing Supply Crisis (Policy Press) and a history of the Left in Oxford. He is Chartist Reviews Editor.