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UK Politics: Labour splinters amid rows over Corbyn leadership

Seven MPs have quit the Labour party
Seven MPs have announced they are quitting Labour

Seven sitting Labour MPs have announced their split from the party amid arguments over the policies of leader Jeremy Corbyn. The Tradefair team brings you the latest from UK politics...

"Our primary duty as Members of Parliament is to put the best interests of our constituents and our country first. Yet like so many others, we believe that none of today's political parties are fit to provide the leadership and direction needed by our country,"

- Independent Group of Members of Parliament

A group of dissident Labour MPs have announced their split from the party amid unrest and irreconcilable differences with party leader Jeremy Corbyn and his policies.

The dual issues of Mr Corbyn's stance on Brexit and the handling of Labour's unseemly row over anti-semitism have led the group to part ways with the party.

Who's leaving Labour?

Former Labour MPs Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Gavin Shuker, Mike Gapes, Ann Coffey and Chuka Umunna have all quit the party.

What do we know about the group?

The new group of independent MPs have stated they will not be joining another existing party and instead hope to act on their own, voting in line with others on an issue-by-issue basis.

It is believed all of the members are centrist in their political outlook and there was therefore talk of them joining the Liberal Democrats. However, this rumour has now been quashed.

Announcing the split, a statement from the group read: "We are leaving the Labour Party to sit as the Independent Group of Members of Parliament.

"Our primary duty as Members of Parliament is to put the best interests of our constituents and our country first. Yet like so many others, we believe that none of today's political parties are fit to provide the leadership and direction needed by our country.

"We represent different parts of the country, we are of different backgrounds, we were born of different generations, but we all share the same values."

What it means for Parliament

The creation of this new group of independent MPs means the position of the Labour party in the Commons has now been diminished. It will come as a bitter blow for embattled Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who now sees his party's numbers reduced and therefore his ability to effectively oppose Conservative-backed votes in the Commons in the process.

At the same time, the fractious nature of Parliament at present means splits in both major parties - Conservative and Labour - on significant issues like Brexit and how to proceed with an orderly withdrawal make future voting all the more complex.

What is clear is that party lines are becoming increasingly blurred as the deadline for Brexit fast approaches.

Markets maintain upward momentum

What may be good news for traders and for the UK public in general is that this latest political upheaval appears to have done little to impact growth in the UK's premier stock exchange so far.

The FTSE 100 continued to climb in trading today (February 18), building on positive growth over the last seven days that has seen the market increase by more than 100 points to over 7,230 by Monday lunchtime.

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