Labour/Co-op MP Louise Ellman has left the Labour Party, hitting out at leader Jeremy Corbyn and his handling of alleged anti-semitism in the party.
The Liverpool Riverside MP, who has sat in Parliament for 22 years, said in letter that anti-Semitism has become “mainstream” in the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn, and “vile conspiracy theories have been propogated”.
“I believe that Jeremy Corbyn is not fit to serve as our prime minister,” she added.
She thanked colleagues “who have fought Labour’s antisemitism valiantly” and also the Co-op Party for its “firm and unequivocal stand against this racism”.
Her decision to quit Labour means she no longer sits as Co-op Party MP.
A statement from the Co-op Party read: “Under the Co-operative Party’s rules, Co-operative Party elected representatives agree to join and sit within the official Labour group within the parliament, assembly or council to which they have been elected.
“Therefore, if an MP quits the Labour Party, they are no longer eligible to be a Co-operative MP. They continue to be an ordinary member of the Co-operative Party unless they join another political party or individually choose to terminate their membership.”
Dame Louise’s departure follows that in February of Labour/Co-op MPs Mike Gapes, Luciana Berger, Gavin Shuker and Chris Leslie, who stood down – alongside four Labour colleagues – in protest against Mr Corbyn’s stance on Brexit and handling of the anti-semitism row.
A Labour spokesperson said Mr Corbyn thanked Dame Louise for her service “over many years”.
“Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party are fully committed to the support, defence and celebration of the Jewish community and continue to take robust action to root out anti-Semitism in the party and wider society” they added.
Tim Hayd, chair of the Liverpool Riverside Constituency, paid tribute to Dame Louise’s “hard work and commitment”, but told the BBC: “Unfortunately she made it very clear at the last CLP that she could not support a Jeremy Corbyn-led government.
“This inevitably meant that Louise would be triggered and was very unlikely to win any reselection process.”
Labour/Co-op MP Lucy Powell, who represents Manchester Central, tweeted: “I’m so so sorry you’ve reached this decision which I know will have been incredibly hard for you having served our party which such dedication for decades. It’s our loss and a sad reflection on us.”