Easington MP says Labour should be united in tackling 'rotten' Tories after launch of break-away group
The actions of MPs who have split from Labour are "distracting and divisive" in the task of stopping the Conservatives from remaining in Government, according to one North East politician.
Easington MP Grahame Morris has spoken out after the announcement seven Labour MPs have resigned to become independent members.
He warns it will impact on the fight for the future of the NHS, the campaign to address issues caused by how the state pension for women was equalised with men, benefit changes in relation to Universal Credit and concerns over Brexit plans by Theresa May's Conservative Government.
Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Gavin Shuker, Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey are among the MPs from the party's centrist wing who have been the loudest critics of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, his stance on Brexit and his handling of allegations of anti-Semitism.
Mr Morris, who has represented his constituency since May 2010 and has held posts as Opposition Whip and Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Shadow Minister for the Constitutional Convention, said: "Whatever tradition of the Labour Party you belong to, whether you are a socialist or a centrist, there is one thing that has always united our movement, and only one objective that should matter to us all.
"That is stopping the Tories' decades-long assault on working people in our country.
"That shared unity and objective matters now more than ever, as this rotten Tory government continues starving our NHS of resources, schools and police of funds, deprives Waspi Women of their state pensions, plunders the Mineworkers' Pension Fund and persist with the senselessness of austerity and the cruelty of Universal Credit, and most of all, risks taking us into a dangerous Tory Brexit that will destroy jobs and investment in our country. “These are the issues Labour MPs should be entirely focused on, and I therefore regret that some of our MPs are instead engaging in the distracting and divisive exercise we are seeing today.
"Labour should not and will not be distracted or divided, and therefore my question to the defectors is do they intend to put up candidates in Labour-Tory marginals, and split the Labour vote?
"Will they stand in Hastings, and keep Amber Rudd – the overseer of the Windrush Scandal – in office?
"Will they stand in Uxbridge and South Ruislip, and keep Boris Johnson – the arch-proponent of a hard Brexit – in office?
"Will they stand in Chingford and Woodford Green, and keep Iain Duncan Smith – the architect of Universal Credit – in office?
"If they do, we all know that the only effect of their actions will be to keep the Tories in power and make a Tory Brexit more likely, not less.”