JEREMY Corbyn has hit out at Labour MPs who quit the party to sit alongside former Tories in the new Independent Group – but he won’t change direction.
Mr Corbyn said he was “sad” about the loss of nine of his MPs who walked away from his party this week, who publicly slammed his leadership and the ongoing problem of anti-Semitism in Labour.
AFP Opposition leader Corbyn with campaigners ahead of his speech in Broxtowe
But despite the MPs leaving the party, Corbyn insisted he had absolutely no intention of changing his policies.
Eight of the nine defectors joined the newly-formed Independent Group, citing the problem of anti-Semitism in the party and its position on Europe.
Speaking today in the constituency of Broxtowe today, Corbyn said: “I’m obviously very sad at some of the things that have happened and very sad at some of the things that have been said.
“Walking away from our movement achieves nothing.
“Not understanding where we have come from is a bad mistake.
“So, when the media talk about the bravery of those who walk away, Anna Soubry voted for austerity and said it was a good thing.”
Corbyn said MPs like Chris Leslie, who fought the last election on a Labour manifesto opposed to Conservative austerity, were now working with ex-Tories like Anna Soubry in the Independent Group, who supported the cuts.
Despite complaints by the Jewish MP Luciana Berger and others that the leadership has consistently failed to deal with the issue within the party, Mr Corbyn insisted anti-Semitism was “unacceptable”.
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“When people are racist to each other, then we oppose it in any way whatsoever,” he said.
“If anyone is racist towards anyone else in our party – wrong. Out of court, out of order, totally and absolutely unacceptable.
“Anti-Semitism is unacceptable in any form and in any way whatsoever, and anywhere in our society.”
AFP or licensors The Labour Leader lost nine of his MPs this week to the Independent Group over the party’s anti-Semitism row
Press Association Corbyn told the crowd about his sadness at the rally in Nottinghamshire today
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