Momentum launches major push to oust MPs who quit Labour to join Independent Group
Momentum is launching a major drive to oust the former Labour MPs who quit the party to join The Independent Group.
The left-wing campaign group said they would be holding “mass canvassing events” in the constituencies of Chuka Umunna, Ann Coffey and Angela Smith to raise awareness among voters of their actions.
Eight Labour MPs have so far quit the party in protest at Jeremy Corbyn's record on Brexit and tackling anti-semitism, and have been joined by Conservatives.Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston.
They have ruled out triggering by-elections in their constituencies despite calls from their former local parties to step down.
Laura Parker, Momentum’s national co-ordinator, said: “Their constituents voted for a Labour MP standing on a Labour manifesto. Now they’ve left the party and joined a Blarite-Tory coalition standing on a completely different platform.
“This is not what their constituents voted for. The only fair and decent thing to do is give their constituents a choice and call a by-election."
The pro-Jeremy Corbyn campaign group claim they raised over £15,000 for their fighting fund in the hours following the launch of the breakaway faction.
“Polls show the vast majority of Labour voters back the party and the policies, not individual candidates,” Ms Parker added. “These splinter group MPs ran in 2017 on a manifesto of public ownership, scrapping tuition fees and ending austerity.
“Now they’re working hand in hand with the Tories they’ll revert back to an agenda of privatisation, deregulation and tax cuts for the wealthy.
“This is unfair, undemocratic and dishonest. If they are about their constituents rather than their own careers they should step down and fight a by-election.”
The group say the first of these events - which will be attended by celebrities and politicians - will begin in the coming weeks.
Shadow Cabinet Minister Jon Trickett has already announced that a Labour government would strengthen the current rules on voters forcing by-elections on their MPs.
He revealed Labour would be consulting on new plans to extend the powers of voters to ‘recall’ their parliamentarians, including those who quit their party in the middle of a parliamentary session.
“Communities should not have to wait for up to five years to act if they feel their MP is not properly representing their interests, especially with the restrictions of the Fixed Term Parliament Act,” he said.