Seven MPs quit the ‘racist’, ‘bullying’, ‘hard left’ Labour Party

‘The seven MPs who quit the Labour Party lined up yesterday to deliver a devastating verdict on Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. One by one, they set out an extraordinary charge sheet against Mr Corbyn’s stewardship, accusing him of turning Labour into an ‘institutionally anti-Semitic’ and ‘racist’ party. Luciana Berger, a Jewish MP threatened with deselection by hard-Left activists, said she was ‘embarrassed and ashamed’ to remain in a party riven with ‘bullying, bigotry and intimidation’. At the launch of their ‘Independent Group’, the MPs tore into Labour’s leadership, warning that the party had been ‘hijacked’. Mike Gapes, a Labour MP for 27 years, said he was ‘sickened’ that the party he joined was now ‘racist’. Others blamed their decision to quit on the party’s failure to oppose Brexit and support a second referendum. Chris Leslie, former shadow chancellor, said he had left because Labour had been ‘hijacked by the machine politics of the hard Left’.’ – Daily Mail

  • Watson warns Corbyn that more resignations might follow and urges a reshuffle – The Sun
  • Who are the seven? – The Times
  • PLP applaud the quitters while Lavery claims everything is fine – The Times
  • Smeeth breaks down in tears as she discusses abuse from Labour members – Daily Mail
  • Trolls promptly demonstrate their point about a toxic culture – The Sun
  • More antisemitic abuse in Wavertree Labour – The Times



  • Dreams of realignment might now become a reality – The Times Leader
  • You can’t ‘build a new politics’ on the basis of trying to stop the biggest democratic vote in our history – The Sun Says
  • No new party will ‘fix politics’ by defying the people – Daily Telegraph Leader
  • It will likely struggle to grow into a proper party – FT Leader
  • The split is a mistake, but also a warning – The Guardian Leader

>Today: ToryDiary: Yes, our system favours the established parties. But it is not invulnerable to change. This could be the start of a breakthrough.


Toynbee: Wrong time, wrong reasons, wrong people – this is no SDP

‘Seven is a pitifully small number. The timing is monstrously badly judged and the reasons the MPs give are oddly scattergun, lacking political punch and focus. To be sure, they are not alone in thinking Jeremy Corbyn a weak leader with many failings: his poll ratings show most of the country agrees, as did the 172 Labour MPs who voted no confidence in him two and half years ago, as his “kinder gentler politics” turned poisonous. But whether born of despair or vanity, this walkout is a damaging distraction, because right here, right now, there is only one cause that matters – Brexit. That’s not one issue among many, it is the great question that has the nation’s future hanging by a thread. It is the debate that contains within it all the other arguments about Britain’s ideals, identities, ideologies and insanities.’ – Polly Toynbee, The Guardian

  • Angela Smith immediately sparks a racism row by referring to people with ‘a funny tinge’ – The Sun
  • BBC accidentally broadcasts ‘we are actually f*cked’ voiceover – The Guardian
  • McDonnell demands they call by-elections – Daily Telegraph
  • There were meant to be a lot more MPs, but infighting deterred most of them – Buzzfeed
  • Corbynite outriders mock ‘Blairite tribute act’ – The Times
  • Derek Hatton has been allowed to rejoin the Labour Party – The Sun
  • The last time Berger had the chance to express her concerns to Corbyn directly was in 2017 – Belfast Telegraph

Sketches and Opinion

>Today: Henry Newman’s column: A new bout of political instability hits Labour – but does it change the Brexit arithmetic?


Might Tory MPs join them? Allen and Wollaston are on ‘resignation watch’

‘Senior Tories fear that at least six Conservatives will quit the party to join Chuka Umunna and the ‘Independents’. Anti-Brexiteer MPs Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston are under ‘resignation watch’.
And insiders are convinced Anna Soubry will also walk despite her long career in the Tory party. Others thought to be considering their future are Antoinette Sandbach, Philip Lee and ex-Education Secretary Justine Greening. Both Ms Allen and Dr Wollaston have faced a fury from local activists over their strong support for a People’s Vote. Neither would comment yesterday.’ – The Sun

  • My former Tory colleagues should join this new group – Nick Mazzei, The Times
  • Soubry removes mentions of party from her Twitter bio – Daily Telegraph
  • That would be as nothing compared to the damage if they fail to implement Brexit – The Sun Says
  • Both main parties are at risk – Rachel Sylvester, The Times
  • Pro-EU Conservatives are losing patience with ‘spineless’ Hammond – FT
  • Remainers ‘won’t even consider’ dating Leavers, matchmaker reveals – Daily Telegraph

Honda plant to shut

‘The company is expected to announce tomorrow that its plant in Swindon will shut in 2022, affecting 3,500 people directly employed by the company and many others in the carmaker’s supply chain. The closure, first reported by Sky News, will be the biggest blow to car manufacturing in the UK since the collapse of Rover 14 years ago. It follows thousands of job losses at Jaguar Land Rover, Vauxhall, Ford and Michelin and the decision by Nissan to build its new models in Japan rather than Sunderland. The industry has been under pressure from the collapse in sales of diesel vehicles plus the fears and uncertainties for carmakers over what will happen with rising costs and delays following Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. The company is expected to move production back to Japan, partly because the new trade deal between Japan and the EU signed at the start of this month will eventually guarantee tariff-free car exports to the EU.’ – The Times

Cox and Barclay take backstop proposals to Brussels

‘Sources said Attorney General Geoffrey Cox and Brexit secretary Steve Barclay will present Eurocrats with fresh proposals designed to reassure MPs in talks on Wednesday. Lawyers from the UK and EU will pore over what changes could be made either to the Withdrawal Agreement itself or in the form of additional promises ahead of a crunch Commons Brexit vote next week. Critically it means the Commission has accepted the possibility of legal tweaks. The move came as Tory ‘Remain’ Ministers piled pressure on Theresa May yesterday by warning her up to 22 Ministers and aides could quit to try and block a No Deal in the February 27 vote. Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd and Business Secretary Greg Clark urged her to publicly commit to extending Brexit negotiations if an agreement cannot be reached.’ – The Sun

  • Juncker says the talks are ‘in God’s hands’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Coveney accuses the UK of trying to ‘steamroll’ Ireland – The Guardian
  • The Commission will allow EU banks to use London clearing services even after No Deal – Daily Mail
  • Gove promises farmers No Deal safeguards – FT
  • Macron urges the EU to be more assertive – Daily Mail
  • Lega demand half of radio songs must be Italian – The Times
  • Trump has told Juncker he won’t increase car tariffs – Daily Mail
  • “I like punitive tariffs,” the President says – The Times
  • The EU wants to retaliate – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph
  • At their first meeting, he told Merkel “you owe me a trillion dollars” – The Times
  • Atlanticism is fraying – FT Leader

Ministerial concern about Chinese tech spying threat

‘Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat chairman of the committee, asked each of the three frontbenchers if they were considering making mandatory the use of the Huawei cyber security evaluation centre (HCSEC), a government body that tests hardware and software updates supplied by Huawei. At present British companies may voluntarily make use of the body, which was set up in 2010 in response to security concerns about Huawei and is overseen by British spies from GCHQ. It is understood that Mr Williamson initially rejected proposals to write a joint response to Mr Lamb with Mr Wright and Mr Hunt, instead planning to set out a more robust position warning of the risks posed by Huawei in a separate statement. The three ministers have since agreed to try to formulate a joint letter, however, which it is hoped will be sent this week. It comes after Mr Williamson raised eyebrows with a speech that warned that Britain should be ready to use “hard power” against states that flouted international rules.’ – The Times

  • It’s not just a business deal, security must come first – The Times Leader
  • David Miliband criticises UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia – FT
  • Merkel’s support for Russia’s pipeline shows she puts Germany ahead of the EU – Juliet Samuel, Daily Telegraph
  • Chinese spies suspected of cyber-attack on Australian politicians – The Times
  • Thirty-four migrants picked up in the Channel – The Times

>Yesterday: Benedict Rogers on Comment: Williamson was right to warn about the menace of China

The Home Secretary is ‘considering carefully’ a revision of treason laws to deal with jihadi returnees

‘Britain’s 650-year-old treason law could be updated to allow jihadists returning from Syria to be prosecuted, the Home Secretary has said. Sajid Javid told the House of Commons yesterday that a change to the 1351 Treason Act was ‘worth considering carefully’. Mr Javid has vowed to block ISIS bride Shamima Begum from returning to the UK after she pleaded to be allowed back with her newborn son. The last person convicted of treason in the UK was wartime Nazi propagandist Lord Haw-Haw who was hanged in 1946. Mr Javid was asked by Tory colleague Julian Lewis whether he would consider revamping the treason law to ‘specify that it is treason to support a group that one knows intends to attack the UK or is fighting UK forces’.’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Chloe Westley’s column: The twisted ideology that upends reason – and presents terror backers as innocent victims

Gauke and Bailey: Short prison sentences are counter-productive and should be banned

‘Almost two thirds of offenders sentenced to less than 12 months in prison go on to reoffend in the first year after release. This is almost double the reoffending rate of those given community or suspended sentences. A policy approach purely focused on more and more imprisonment is one that does not serve the interests of society, and wastes taxpayers’ money. In the 21st century we should not be thinking in terms of what is “hard” or “soft”. We should be having a conversation about what works — “smart” justice that delivers empirically the best possible outcomes for society. That is why we shouldn’t treat prison as a holding pen for society’s problems. If someone commits a serious crime it should be met with serious time. But for more minor offences we should look to keep many people, especially our young people, away from prison.’ – David Gauke and Shaun Bailey, The Times

  • The Government is to forbid sentences of less than six months – The Times
  • Davies calls the idea ‘idiotic’ – The Sun

Momentum hopes to use the North of Tyne mayoralty as a test bed for radical socialism

‘Socialist grassroots activist Jamie Driscoll versus “heir of Blair” Nick “Slasher” Forbes: the fight to be Labour’s candidate for the new post of elected mayor for England’s northernmost area has turned ideological. Former Conservative chancellor George Osborne devised elected “metro mayors” responsible for nurturing economic growth and job creation as a condition of devolving central government funding and powers to English conurbations. Now Momentum, the pressure group that backs the leftwing Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, is eyeing Mr Osborne’s innovation as a great opportunity to spread its brand of socialism. There are currently no Momentum activists among England’s seven elected metro mayors and its influence at local authority level is patchy. But Momentum’s Mr Driscoll is in a two-way fight with Mr Forbes, leader of Newcastle city council, to become Labour’s candidate for the elected position of North of Tyne mayor.’ – FT

>Today: Katrina Wood on Local Government: Government meddling is making unitary status for local government in Buckinghamshire harder to achieve

McKinstry: Churchill’s fascist-crushing partnership with Attlee undermines the hard left’s revisionism

‘It is Churchill’s central part in the Second World War that makes a mockery of McDonnell’s assertion of villainy. Indeed, the Shadow Chancellor would not have the freedom to spout his drivel today had it not been for Churchill’s determination to stand up to Nazi tyranny in 1940. McDonnell fondly sees himself as an opponent of fascism. But there was never a more robust warrior against it than Churchill. To paint him now as a criminal is to smear his legacy in defending civilisation from genocidal barbarity. During his wartime premiership, Churchill was ably assisted by the Labour Party, led by the calm, austere Clement Attlee. The fruitful coalition between the two men is a direct refutation of McDonnell’s partisan myth-making. If Churchill had really been a Tory “villain”, Attlee’s Labour would not have contemplated going into Government with him.’ – Leo McKinstry, Daily Express

News in Brief

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