February 18 was a big day for the “Maleficent Seven” Labour MPs who quit to form their own “Independent Group” in Parliament – and now they are facing demands for by-elections in their constituencies.
Local Labour members who helped Chuka Umunna, Chris Leslie, Gavin Shuker, Angela Smith, Luciana Berger, Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey say they were elected into Parliament on a Labour manifesto but the people of those constituencies no longer have representatives who support that manifesto. They say voters are entitled to choose whether they want to keep the MPs they have, or elect someone who means it when they say they support Labour ideals.
All in all, it was hardly an auspicious start for the group, whose members intended to use their split from Labour to highlight alleged faults in the party they were leaving.
We very soon had ample evidence that the schism was hardly prompted by recent events – the group’s website was registered in 2015… in a tax haven abroad.
The headquarters of this Brexit-opposing organisation is above a Wetherspoons pub – an organisation that supports Brexit – called, appropriately, The Unicorn.
And it turns out that this political organisation is nothing of the sort – it is in fact a company called Gemini A Ltd. This allows it to take advantage of a legal loophole that means Gemini A Ltd does not have to declare the identity of its financial backers. We don’t know who is funding these MPs.
Within hours of the new group being announced, Ms Smith had plunged it into a racism row with ill-judged remarks on the BBC’s Politics Live.
And now all seven are facing challenges to justify their claims on their Parliamentary seats.
See for yourself:
The 'Independent Group' doesn't exist.
You are sitting with Gemini A Ltd.
A private company incorporated and owned by Gavin Shuker MP. https://t.co/FDDfJ1D3L6
— Matt Black (@NoirMJ) February 18, 2019
If you want an example of UK electoral law loopholes: The Independent Group, which looks/swims/quacks a lot like a political party and is asking for donations, is actually a private company. So it isn't subject to electoral law rules requiring them to declare financial backers.
— Jim Waterson (@jimwaterson) February 18, 2019
Finally some light humour… the Independent Group, whose MPs oppose Brexit, is based above a branch of Wetherspoons, which, erm, does not oppose Brexit.
And the name of their new odd couple neighbour?
— Dan Bloom (@danbloom1) February 18, 2019
If the Umunna crew had any honour they would resign and fight by-elections like Dick Taverne. They wouldn't get 10,000 votes between the whole seven of them.
— Craig Murray (@CraigMurrayOrg) February 18, 2019
Statement from Wavertree CLP pic.twitter.com/bAAJQtNf3W
— Wavertree CLP (@WavertreeCLP) February 18, 2019
(For those who have trouble reading images, the tweet from Wavertree CLP says: “We are extremely disappointed that Luciana Berger has made the decision to resign from the Labour Party. 35,000 people in Wavertree voted for the Labour Manifesto in 2017, yet they are no longer represented by a Labour MP. We call on Luciana Berger to immediately resign the seat, to give the people of Wavertree the opportunity to decide who represents them in Parliament.”)
Any MP who won their electoral mandate under the banner of a particular party should stand down as an MP and run again as an independent if they leave that party.
— Ed Poole (@edwardpoole1975) February 18, 2019
"The honourable thing for them to do now is to stand down and fight by-elections back in their constituencies."
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell says seven MPs who resigned from the Labour party should seek re-election. pic.twitter.com/JuFEZMSEix
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) February 18, 2019
The MPs who have been calling for a second referendum because they want more democracy now refusing to hold by-elections to let their constituents decide who represents them. https://t.co/qHCQh98Qvb
— Anita🌹 (@a_nitak) February 18, 2019
It seems this new organisation is built on lies and broken promises. That is a poor platform from which to demand the trust of the people.
Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:
Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.
1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.
2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical
3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/
Join the Vox Political Facebook page.
4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com
And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!
If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!
Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.
The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:
These MPs were democratically elected to serve all their constituents not just those who voted for them. Such is the system in British politics it is the individual who is important and his or her party is actually an irrelevance. There is no reason for them to resign their seats.
They were voted into their seats as Labour Party representatives, supporting a Labour Party manifesto. As they have now admitted that they don’t support that manifesto, or the Labour Party that wrote it, it seems clear they were either elected under false pretences or are now continuing under false pretences. Remaining in their seats under such conditions is an act of dishonesty, and of disrespect to their constituents.
I knew nothing of the MP who supposedly represented the Labour Party(like thousands of others who had never heard of her) and therefore your comment is nonsense.
I voted for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party not Tony Bliar’s New Labour, (previously I had never voted Labour). Had that person then turned their back on the manifesto as set out by Corbyn and McDonnell I would insist that a new by-election take place and I can assure you, even as a remain voter, I would not support an “Independent” party.
I believe in a fair democracy whereby those elected are held accountable, it’s the reason I will not support another referendum unless it can be proven that a greater majority than previously existed would vote one way or the other. My wishes are no more important than the leavers and they won – THAT is democracy.
I live in a constituency which has been Tory simply because of the low number turnout under previous Labour manifestos, which indicates to me that Labour won this time round because of Corbyn’s manifesto, so imagine the horror for those who voted like me, having to put up with someone who no longer belongs to the Party they voted for.
Futhermore, the person elected must represent the people who voted them in with consideration given to those who voted for the “other guy”, that is the reality of politics. It’s called sticking to your guns and remaining loyal to those people who voted for you, anything less is a betrayal.
Many people see their M.P.s only in the run up to an election. Many people don’t know who they are voting for, they will vote for a Party, or a policy, or, sometimes, a Party leader. It cannot be assumed that everybody who voted, voted for the candidate. Aye, they were elected to serve the consituencey however they stood on a £abour Manifesto (3 Conservatives have also left their Party and should do the same and give their constituents a say on who now represents them). Did Douglas Carswell not fight a by-election, when he defected to U.K.I.P.? He won. What are these people afraid of? The other important thing to remember, is that nobody knows what these independents stand for. We know what they oppose but not what they support. How can it be right for them not to fight a by-election? It’s hardly fair on their constituents and it wreaks of the arrogance of politicians that led us here, in the first place!
The Gemini A Ltd persona mentioned is funded by Corbyn-hater Mossad – and their base of op’s is above the Wetherspoons Unicorn pub-restaurant in the photo – situated on the corner/s of Altrincham’s Ashley Road, Llyod St and Oxford Road junctions.
I’d like to see your evidence that Gemini A Ltd is funded by Mossad. Where may it be viewed?
You have been watching too much Al Jazeera, whilst 4 of the 7 may belong to Labour Friends Of Israel, there is no proof that Mossad or the Zionist state have funded their smear campaign against Corbyn.
Yes they should resign their seats and stand as independents, if they believe their constituents support their views that is the right thing to do, also by creating a company we can’t find out who is funding them.
Perhaps they have a point about the Parliamentary system being broken.
Where else could you “resign” on full pay (£80k+ expenses) at tax payers expense and be allowed to act with impunity ?
Being believers of a people’s vote, perhaps they should put their money where their mouth is and let the people decide their fate?
Aye, that’s the so-called People’s Vote that we should back!
It was nothing more than an attack on the current Labour Party whose leader is Jeremy Corbyn, they went all out to attack the leader of the party that has now come back to it’s roots and these “Resigners” are unhappy because they would have been deselected anyway.
When I resigned from positions I didn’t agree with, I never got to keep my pay packet, my expenses, or any other benefit associated with the post I held. They are lying when they say they have resigned, resignation means giving up your pay packet and standing up for your beliefs without being funded by the company you just resigned from. Hypocrisy, typical tory mindset, the gravy train must keep running.
Labour party members worked & paid to get these MP’s elected into a job for which they are paid 75,000 a year, they no longer represent Labour members. I would have thought that labour had grounds to take legal action to reclaim the expense of getting them elected.
Applaud their courage. All not far from well in the Labour party and as a centrist I have been abused on facebook, I back these people all the way. Get rid of Corbyn