Wavertree MP Berger quits Labour Party

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MP Luciana Berger makes her announcement that she is quitting the Labour Party. Screengrab © BBC Politics

Luciana Berger has announced she is part of a group of MPs leaving Labour, saying she is “embarrassed and ashamed” at the state of the party.

She will now sit in Parliament and represent her Liverpool Wavertree constituency as an independent, claiming the “bullying, bigotry and intimidation” and anti-Semitism within Labour have left her position untenable.

Berger was one of seven MPs to reveal their breakaway move, with Chuka Umunna, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker and Ann Coffey joining her leaving in protest at the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, among other issues.

The 37-year-old has been at the centre of a row where her local constituency group in Wavertree tabled two motions of no-confidence in her, which were later withdrawn.

Twitter: BBC Politics

Today, Ms Berger condemned the party she joined as a teenager and labelled it a “difficult but painful decision”.

Berger, who is Jewish, said she could no longer stay with Labour, which she claimed is “institutionally anti-Semitic”.

Last week, Berger said she would not be cowed and will keep on speaking after allegations she was being bullied by people within her constituency party group, but today she has quit and vowed to carry on as part of the new Independent Group.

Wavertree MP Luciana Berger after winning the parliamentary seat in 2010. Picture © Vegard Grott JMU Journalism

Speaking at a London press conference, she told journalists: “I have not changed, the core values of equality for all, opportunity for all and anti-racism for all. That was the values of the party I joined as a student almost 20 years ago.”

Berger was first elected as an MP for Wavertree in 2010, and then returned in the 2015 and 2017 General Elections.

In response, Labour Leader Corbyn said: “I am disappointed that these MPs have felt unable to continue to work together for the Labour policies that inspired millions at the last election and saw us increase our vote by the largest share since 1945.”