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Britain's Labour splits over Brexit, anti-Semitism

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Britain's Labour splits over Brexit, anti-Semitism

Britain's Labour splits over Brexit, anti-Semitism

Seven lawmakers split from Britain's opposition Labour party on Monday (February 18) saying that the leadership's failures over Brexit, anti-Semitism and a culture of bullying had left them no choice.

Megan Revell reports.

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Britain's Labour splits over Brexit, anti-Semitism

(SOUNDBITE) (English) MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR LIVERPOOL WAVERTREE, LUCIANA BERGER, SAYING: "This morning, we have all resigned from the Labour party." Brexit has split diplomatic relations, public opinion and now Britain's main opposition party.

Seven lawmakers quit Labour on Monday (February 18), over leader Jeremy Corbyn's Brexit strategy and a row over anti-Semitism.

SOUNDBITE (English) MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR NOTTINGHAM EAST, CHRIS LESLIE, SAYING: "We've all been Labour members of parliament for very many years, in my case more than three decades (...) We did everything we could to save it, but it has now been hijacked by the machine politics of the hard left." Corbyn's tack so far is to keep a second referendum on EU membership "on the table." That's if Prime Minister Theresa May's government fails to get a deal struck with Brussels through parliament, before the exit date of March 29.

But Monday's departure underlines mounting frustration over his reluctance to change his strategy and take a harder line.

The lawmakers will continue to sit in parliament under the newly-minted banner of 'The Independent Group'.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR LIVERPOOL WAVERTREE, LUCIANA BERGER, SAYING: "This has been a very difficult, painful but necessary decision." Brexit has broken up Britain's traditional party lines and created new coalitions across the country's left, right divide.

Corbyn has also been accused by some lawmakers of failing to tackle anti-Semitism within the party, an allegation that has dogged his tenure since 2015.

The pro-palestinian politician denies that anti-Semitism has grown under his watch, and has pledged to stamp it out.




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