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

Marsha Scott
September 1, 2018

The party's deputy leader Tom Watson called Field's resignation of the whip a "serious loss", saying that he "deeply regret [s] Frank's decision".

In a letter "reluctantly" written to Chief Whip Nick Brown today, the veteran politician - who has been the town's Member of Parliament since 1979 - said it was with "considerable sadness" that he had taken the decision, adding that he would continue to serve his constituency as an independent Labour MP.

Mr Field is due to meet with Labour's chief whip on Friday to discuss his options - he wishes to serve as an independent MP whilst remaining a member of the party, but Labour sources have said this would not be possible.

The MP also blamed a "culture of intolerance, nastiness and intimidation" in local Labour parties.

"The Liberal Democrats continue to have strong policy disagreements with our new "independent" MP, not least on Mr Field's continued support for Brexit, which we feel will harm many of Birkenhead's most vulnerable and poorest residents and look forward to continuing to debate these issues with him".

Field said he was no longer able to tolerate his party's leadership which he called "a force for anti-Semitism in British politics".

Few events would give me greater pleasure than to apply to the Parliamentary Labour Party for the whip.

He said: "I have been through all this before when I have been deselected and I am still the Labour party candidate".

"It saddens me to say that we are increasingly seen as a racist party", Field said.

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A spokesman for Jeremy Corbyn said: "Jeremy Corbyn thanks Frank Field for his service to the Labour Party".

Asked about the possibility other Labour MPs could walk away from the party, Mr Mann said: "It's a possibility, I hope not but I think it's a distinct possibility that others will go unless the racism, the bullying, the intimidation of the extremists is stopped". I will argue on that basis that I have a right to remain a member of the party. "I absolutely want to remain a member of the party", he said.

Mr Field, who chairs the Commons work and pensions committee, has faced criticism from party members for his voting record on key Government Brexit legislation and last month lost a motion of no confidence in his local party.

Field also complained of "bullying and intimidation" in his local branch of the party.

Mr Corbyn also stressed that people who hold anti-Semitic views "have no place in the Labour Party" and said people who use "anti-Semitic poison" are not his supporters, nor do they speak for him or the party. That Ms Reecejones should not be a member of the Party, let alone represent us in public positions, has been underscored by decisions taken by Wirral Council.

Frank Field resigns from Labour party saying it is is now a "force for antisemitism".

The latest firestorm to engulf the party followed the revelation last week of comments made by Corbyn in a 2013 speech at the Palestinian Return Centre in London, where he said of a group of British "Zionists": "They clearly have two problems. We can not afford to lose people of such weight and stature".

"It is important to clarify that, in resigning the whip I am not resigning from the Labour Party".

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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