WATCH: Chuka Umunna says threats from Corbyn’s supporters made it ‘unbearable’ to stay with Labour Party
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
Chuka Umunna said that the failure of the Labour Party to do something about anti-Semitism and bullying made his position as a member 'untenable'.
The MP for Streatham is among a group of 11 MPs who recently left their parties to form the new Independent Group.
Speaking on Sky's Sophy Ridge programme, Umunna said that being part of the Labour Party had become 'unbearable'.
'Going to meetings being heckled, shouted at. I have received threats from supporters of the leader where I've had to call in the police and somebody was arrested.
'Ultimately you don't join a party to be fighting year after year other people within it.
You may also want to watch:
'At times it's been extremely unsettling.'
He went on: 'I blame Jeremy Corbyn, but I also blame other people who have acted as bystanders.
- 1 The stench of scandal seeping out from Britain
- 2 Why is devout Jacob Rees-Mogg so quiet about Boris Johnson's affairs?
- 3 Dominic Cummings' new venture could cause concern for No 10
- 4 Government deletes pro-Scottish independence blog post
- 5 Major and Blair were right about Brexit and Northern Ireland
- 6 Tory candidate under fire after describing Brexit chaos as a 'hiccup'
- 7 Roman Kemp: Depression and coping with George Michael's death
- 8 DUP MP launches legal action against government over Brexit
- 9 Laurence Fox says ‘paedophile’ is ‘meaningless and baseless’ insult
- 10 JPMorgan 'considering' move of all EU business out of London, bank boss says
'There is a rule by fear, particularly post 2017 when the Labour Party rules were changed.
'My principals and values of what I believe in come before being an MP. If you're not prepared to lose your job for your values, you should not be doing it.
'The left party is institutionally anti-Semitic. The failure to do something about it made my position untenable.'
A lack of confidence in Corbyn to become Britain's next prime minister also formed part of Umunna's decision to leave the Labour Party.
He said: 'After really soul searching on this issue, can I in all conscience say that I want to make Jeremy Corbyn prime minister and the team around him, put them in charge of our national security... in all conscience I can't do that.'
The Streatham MP told Sophy Ridge that both the Tories and Labour politicians 'were just as bad as each other' and that it is time for a new style of politics.
In the interview at a youth club in Streatham, he said: 'Ultimately our party system is broken. You've got a bunch of parties which are divided.
'We're quite clear that we believe that we should have the closest possible relationship with the European Union because we're internationalists.
'Individuals should be given platforms to succeed. The older tribal politics where you have opposition for opposition's sake is done.
'I do think we need realignment, we're trying to break a system which is usually rigged in favour of different parties.'
When pressed about whether he meant to become the leader of The Independent Group, Umunna admitted that he hoped to play the biggest part.
He said: 'The recognition is that we're all leaders.
'We're going to try to be our best to be culturally different from other parties.'
Umnna added that he doesn't 'intended to leave the field' when asked about whether he planned to defend his seat at the next election.
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.