Ex-Labour MP John Woodcock in call to arms for new centrist party
Ex-Labour MP John Woodcock has urged parliamentarians from across the political divide to rise up and create a new centrist party.
The Barrow and Furness MP - who dramatically shunned the Labour whip last week - called on his former colleagues as well as Tories and Lib Dems to challenge “the broken two-party system”.
Mr Woodcock had been a major thorn in the side of Jeremy Corbyn since he seized the Labour leadership in 2015 and subsequently dragged the party to the left.
He quit Labour citing concerns that a probe into claims he behaved inappropriately towards a female aide in the past had become "manipulated for factional purposes".
In his first TV interview since leaving the party he said: “I want to be part of something new and something different.”
Speaking to ITV he called for a new political party to be created from Conservative, Lib Dem and Labour MPs disillusioned with the state of the current political climate.
“I want as many as possible to make the choice I have to be part of something which is more true to the values we share,” Mr Woodcock declared.
“Yes it’s been tried before and people say it doesn’t work but times are fluid and we have a responsibility to do something new.”
He noted: “I want to steer people away from thinking it’s going to be created overnight but we’re in politics to change stuff.
“And to change stuff, like the founding members of the Labour party realised, you have it be part of a democratic movement that seeks to govern, that seeks power.”
In his resignation letter last week, Mr Woodcock said: ”The party for which I have campaigned since I was a boy is no longer the broad church it has always historically been.
“Anti-Semitism is being tolerated and Labour has been taken over at nearly every level by the hard left, far beyond the dominance they achieved at the height of 1980s militancy."
In the wake of his resignation, the Labour leadership said Mr Woodcock should quit as an MP and fight for his seat again in a by-election.