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    British lawmaker Jeremy Corbyn waves to a member of the audience prior to addressing a meeting during his election campaign for the leadership of the British Labour Party in Ealing, west London, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015

    'Democratic Thing to Do': UK Labour Leader Calls on Defectors to Quit as MPs

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    UK Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn has addressed former colleagues who have left the party to form an independent group, reportedly in protest against Corbyn and his approach to Brexit, as well as anti-Semitism allegations.

    "It's disappointing that some MPs have left our party to sit with disaffected Tory MPs. But we cannot return to the failed business-as-usual politics of the past," Corbyn said on his Twitter page

    He also suggested that the Labour movement is "greater than the sum of its parts".

    "These MPs now want to abandon the policies on which they were elected. So the decent and democratic thing for them to do is to resign and put themselves up for election", he stated.

    Corbyn has also "made it absolutely clear" that he regards the fight against antisemitism as "an absolute priority".

    The statement comes after one of the biggest political shake-ups in decades among the UK's parties, as three pro-European lawmakers resigned from the ruling Conservatives and joined an alliance dubbed the Independent Group opposing the Conservative government's decision to take Britain out of the European Union with or without a divorce deal.

    READ MORE: 'A Matter of Just Being Sensible': Effective Brexit Can Be Secured, MEP Says

    On 18 February, several Labour MPs quit the party, saying they no longer had confidence in leader Jeremy Corbyn and his Brexit stance, saying the party had been "hijacked by the machine politics of the hard left". 

    The breakaway MPs reportedly hope to attract more dissatisfied pro-Europeans from both the Labour and Conservative parties and form a new centrist party.

    The Labour Party stated it had received 673 anti-Semitism complaints between April 2018 and January 2019, and promptly suspended 96 members and ousted 12 people. However, several lawmakers have reportedly urged the party to do more.

    Earlier in February, Corbyn conveyed to Prime Minister Theresa May a list of five key positions, under which his party might back the Brexit agreement. Corbyn required a permanent UK-wide customs union with the bloc, close adjustment with the EU single market, "dynamic alignment" on rights, a commitment to UK participation in EU agencies and grant programmes as well as clear deals on future security cooperation.

    Labour had previously called on the UK government to ensure that the country has the "exact same benefits" in the future as a customs union and single market member.


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