Labour MP Frank Field resigns party whip over ‘toleration of antisemitism’
Labour MP Frank Field has resigned the party’s whip, saying Jeremy Corbyn has failed to prevent the “toleration of antisemitism” that is an “erosion of our core values”.
In a letter to Labour’s Chief Whip Nick Brown published on Thursday, Mr Field said he had quit the party “for two principle reasons”, the first of which “centres on the latest example of Labour’s leadership becoming a force for antisemitism in British politics”.
He wrote: “The latest example, from last week, comes after a series of attempts by Jeremy to deny that past statements and actions by him were antisemitic. Britain fought the Second World War to banish these views from our politics, but that superhuman effort and success is now under huge and sustained internal attack.
“The leadership is doing nothing substantive to address this erosion of our core values. It saddens me to say that we are increasingly seen as a racist party. This issue alone compels me to resign the whip.”
Mr Field, who has served as the MP for Birkenhead since 1979, said he had also quit Labour because “a culture of intolerance, nastiness and intimidation now reigns in too many parts of the Party nationally and is sadly manifest within my own Constituency Labour Party.”
The veteran MP has said he will now sit as an “independent Labour MP”. Though he resigned the party whip, he is personally remaining a party member.
He said in his letter: “Few events would give me greater pleasure than to apply to the Parliamentary Labour Party for the whip. But great changes in the leadership’s stance on the issues outlined in this letter will need to take place before I will be able to do so.”
A Labour spokesperson said: “Jeremy Corbyn thanks Frank Field for his service to the Labour Party.”
Mr Field, a devout Anglican, was previously a trustee of the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ).
He lost a confidence motion in his constituency Labour Party in July, after voting with the Conservative Government on Brexit.
The Jewish Labour Movement reacted to his resignation by tweeting a Times story from March about how the Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party rejected the JLM’s antisemitism training, falsely saying the group had “possible links with Isis”.