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Joan Ryan MP quits Labour, joins Independent Group



An eighth Labour MP has resigned from the party and joined the newly formed Independent Group.

Joan Ryan, the member of Parliament for Enfield North, quit the British left-wing political party on Tuesday evening, citing anti-Semitism concerns and Labour’s stance on Brexit.

“Over the past three years, the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn has become infected with the scourge of anti-Semitism,” she wrote in a statement.

“[Labour] is playing games with Brexit, with the very real prospect that we crash out of the EU without a deal … And it is developing a cult around the leader, replacing Labour’s traditional message of openness, hope and optimism with an all-consuming narrative founded on rage, betrayal and the hunt for heretics.”

The departure of Ryan, who has been an MP from 1997-2010 and from 2015 onwards, comes a day after seven other Labour MPs quit the party following months of tension and disagreement over the leadership’s handling of Brexit and anti-Semitism within the party.

The seven — Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker, and Ann Coffey — told a press conference in central London that they were quitting Labour to become independent MPs, operating under the name the “Independent Group.”

It is the biggest Labour split since a handful of senior figures walked away from the party in 1981 to form a centre-left party called the Social Democrat Party.

“British politics is now well and truly broken,” Chris Leslie, one of the seven departing MPs, said at the press conference on Monday morning. “The evidence of Labour’s betrayal [on Brexit] is now clear for all to see.”

Responding to the news of the split on Monday, Labour leader Corbyn said he was “disappointed that these MPs have felt unable to continue to work together for the Labour policies that inspired millions at the last election.”

Here’s Joan Ryan’s full statement:

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