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Fri, 23 October 2020

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Chuka Umunna calls rumours of new centrist party ‘utter b******s’

Chuka Umunna calls rumours of new centrist party ‘utter b******s’
2 min read

Labour backbencher Chuka Umunna has batted away rumours he is plotting to a launch a new political party. 

Some claimed Mr Umunna hoped to use the People’s Vote second EU referendum campaign as a platform to launch a new party.

But the Streatham MP told the Guardian: "The idea that the People’s Vote is a precursor to a new party is complete and utter b******s.

"Frankly people need to stop spreading false news about this…

"The People’s Vote campaign contains people from all parties and people of no affiliation at all – that’s the reason it has been successful.

"People need to stop speculation that aids and abets Jacob Rees-Mogg, Nigel Farage and others."

Earlier this month, the general secretary of the Unite Union, Len McCluskey, accused Mr Umunna of "inflating and maintaining" Labour's row over anti-Semitism in a bid to undermine Jeremy Corbyn.

Hitting back at the union chief, the Labour MP said he would "won’t be bullied", declaring: "Jeremy Corbyn himself has said it is a problem Labour has not properly dealt with. If Len McCluskey doesn't like that, so be it."

While not naming Mr Umunna directly, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell also warned Labour MPs not to use the dispute over the party's handling of anti-Jewish abuse to justify a breakaway parliamentary grouping.

He said: "For anybody to use the issue of antisemitism as a cover for launching a new political party they had been planning for nearly two years would rightly be seen as an act of appalling cynicism, basely exploiting a genuine concern that people of goodwill are working hard to address."

Ex-Labour MP John Woodcock meanwhile last month called for parliamentarians across the political divide to rise up and create a new party.

The Barrow and Furness MP – who dramatically quit the Labour whip in July – called on his former colleagues as well as Tories and Lib Dems to challenge the “broken two-party system”.

He left Labour citing concerns that a probe into claims he behaved inappropriately towards a female aide in the past had become “manipulated for factional purposes”. 

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