Disaffected Tory and Labour MPs 'could resign whips' on Valentine's Day
Tory and Labour MPs angry at the direction of their party leaderships are considering whether to resign their whips - with some mulling a leap on Valentine’s Day - it has been reported.
Discontent over Brexit, immigration policy and anti-Semitism could see up to six Labour figures resign the party whip in protest, according to the Observer.
Meanwhile, the Sunday Times reports that a group of pro-EU Tory and Labour MPs are mulling whether to quit their parties on 14 February if they fail to secure a second referendum on Brexit.
On the Labour side, names including Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie and Angela Smith are said to be on party watchlists.
Meanwhile, the names on the Tory side are thought to include Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Justine Greening.
A government source told the Sunday Times: “Chuka and Soubs and the rest of them have been flirting with this for months.”
Mr Leslie told the Observer: “A lot of people’s patience is being tested right now. I think there are some questions we are all going to have to face, especially if Labour enables Brexit.”
Ms Smith told the paper she was focused on Brexit and attacked Unite leader Len McCluskey - an influential figure with the Labour leadership - for pushing a pro-Brexit policy on the party.
“It is outrageous that a trades union leader close to Jeremy Corbyn should be contemplating facilitating Brexit by doing deals with Theresa May in Downing Street which completely undermine the TUC and Labour party position,” she said.
Ms Berger also insisted she was focused on Brexit but noted that she was frustrated with the lack of action from the leadership to tackle anti-Semitism in Labour ranks.
The Observer says discussions have been held about a larger group of MPs breaking off and joining any new group at a later stage if Mr Corbyn fails to adequately oppose the Government on Brexit.
It is also hoped that moderate Tories and Lib Dem MPs could join over time, the paper adds. It comes as a new poll showed a seven-point lead for the Conservatives.