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Luciana Berger to face vote of no confidence for criticising Jeremy Corbyn

3 min read

Labour MP Luciana Berger is to face a vote of no confidence by her local party over her criticism of Jeremy Corbyn.

Members in her Liverpool Wavertree constituency will hold a special meeting on 17 February to debate two motions condemning her behaviour.

Ms Berger, who is Jewish, has spoken out over Mr Corbyn's response to Labour's anti-semitism problems, as well as his approach to Brexit.

One of the motions to be debated says: "The UK is in crisis because of the appalling austerity policies of a government that serves the interests of the rich. We need a Labour government under the socialist leadership of our twice-elected leader Jeremy Corbyn.

"Instead of fighting for a Labour government our MP is continually using the media to criticise the man we all want to be Prime Minister."

The other motion says: "The Tories are deeply divided, but millions are still suffering from their austerity policies. We desperately need a socialist Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn.

"Our MP is continually criticising our leader when she should be working for a general election and opposing the Tories."

Although a motion of no confidence has no official force under Labour party rules, it could be used as the first step in the process of deselecting Ms Berger as a candidate at the next election.

In a statement, Ms Berger said: "I believe that my constituents will judge me on my record and skills in representing them in Parliament. 

"I have not, and will not, hide my long held view that Brexit will be a disaster for the people of Liverpool Wavertree and the wider country."

She added: "I joined colleagues in the Parliamentary Labour Party on Monday in a unanimous call to the party to be transparent about what it has and has not done to root out anti-semitism in the party.

"I am deeply disturbed at the party leadership’s desire to brush this aside and its decision not to comply with the expressed wish of Labour MPs. Nothing will deter me from exposing anti-semitism wherever it festers, including in the Labour Party where it is being wilfully ignored. 

"My values remain the same as they did when I was first elected. I will not be distracted from fighting for the interests of my constituents."

Labour MP Wes Streeting voiced his support for his colleague. The Ilforn North MP tweeted: "Disgraceful. Motions of solidarity should be brought, not motions of no confidence."

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband also backed Ms Berger, tweeting: “@lucianaberger is a brilliant, talented person who I am proud to have as a Labour colleague. She is a powerful advocate on mental health and against anti-semitism. She should be supported not undermined by everyone throughout our party.”

Labour MPs Chris Leslie, Angela Smith and Joan Ryan - who have also been critical of Mr Corbyn's leadership - have all had motions of no confidence in them passed by their local parties in the past year.

Speaking on ITV's Peston show on Wednesday, Ms Berger refused to rule out the possibility that she could quit Labour.

She said: "I'm focused on Brexit, that's my responsibility as a constituency MP... It's many people that have many different challenges, not just on Brexit - in terms of seeing leadership from all the main political parties.

"Politics at the moment looks very, very broken and that's what we need to address."

A Labour spokesperson said: “Members have a right to hold their MPs to account but of course no one should be criticised for speaking out against anti-semitism.”

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