Frank Field resigns Labour whip saying leadership is "force for anti-Semitism"

"Now, within living memory of the Holocaust, and while Jews are being murdered elsewhere in Europe for being Jews, we have an anti-Semite as the leader of the Labour Party and Her Majesty's Opposition".

In his resignation letter, the 76-year-old representative of Birkenhead called Corbyn "a force for antisemitism in British politics".

Mr Field quit the party's parliamentary group through a letter to the chief whip on Thursday, saying the leadership is becoming "a force for anti-Semitism in British politics".

Mr Field said his constituency party was characterised by "sheer thuggery and blatant bullying" with "racist, ageist and sexist" intolerance.

Meanwhile, senior Labour backbencher John Mann demanded that Jewish MPs are automatically reselected for Labour instead of facing deselection by hard Left activists for speaking out on anti-Semitism.

The Birkenhead MP also denied claims that he was jumping before he was pushed, having lost a no-confidence vote within his constituency Labour party after backing Brexit. 'It would have been a betrayal of the principles I have held for my entire political life, had I voted against the legislation, ' he said.

"The public has seen the Party adopt a sectarian approach to countering and rebuffing reports of anti-Semitism", Mr Field wrote in the Liverpool Echo Friday.

Field has also criticised the gig economy, calling it "bogus self-employment ... peddled by those who benefit so handsomely from the gig economy, to avoid the obligations they have to their workforce".

One Labour source dismissed the resignation's significance, telling The Guardian newspaper that "Frank has been looking for an excuse to resign for some time" and cited a grievance in his local party as the cause.

In a tweet, Femi said: "If Labour doesn't support a #PeoplesVote, I will vote against them until they clean-out those MPs".

"He said I would like you to withdraw your letter". I am resigning the whip for two principal reasons.

MP Mary Creagh said the fact Mr Field's local party wanted to deselect him "speaks volumes about the state of our party".

The rebel MP said he will now serve as an independent as he does not want to be seen as part of a "racist" party.

Responding to Lord Sacks's remarks, a Labour spokesman said: "This comparison with the race-baiting Enoch Powell is absurd and offensive".

"There are members of the House of Lords who don't take the Labour whip". I shall of course remain a Party member as I have been since 1960.

"They should ask for their constituents' consent to continue to represent them on a different basis". Many submissions have since come from me as well as from loyal Party members.

The peer insisted that people could only judge Mr Corbyn by his words and actions. The case against Hodge was dropped.

"Lord Sacks was a long-standing chief rabbi, he raised significant concerns but it's not just him - members of the Labour Party have raised concerns as well".

The party's deputy leader, Tom Watson, said his decision was a "serious loss" that "reflects both the deep divisions in the party and the sense of drift engulfing us". It is a major wake up call. "We can not afford to lose people of such weight and stature". "That is the outcome of what he is doing".

  • Joey Payne