'Please don't go': Senior Labour figures and Momentum react to rumours of party split

PUBLISHED: 16:57 17 February 2019 | UPDATED: 17:12 17 February 2019

Labour activists Momentum got down with the kids to make a video begging Chuka Umunna: 'Please don't go'. Picture: Momentum

Labour activists Momentum got down with the kids to make a video begging Chuka Umunna: 'Please don't go'. Picture: Momentum

Momentum

A Brexit-fuelled party split is unnecessary, say senior Labour figures, after Momentum set the whole drama to a pop hit.

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KC and the Sunshine Band unwittingly had a rare day in politics last week when Labour yooves Momentum made a video of odd couple Jeremy Corbyn and Chuka Umunna to their song ‘Please Don’t Go’.

The Valentine’s-themed tweet was in reaction to the ongoing rumours that arch-remainer Umunna is among Labour figures in discussions to form a breakaway party.

Along with Umunna, MPs such as Angela Smith, Luciana Berger, Gavin Shuker and Chris Leslie, are all rumoured to be considering a split.

Among the matters they take issue with are Labour’s handling of antisemitism accusations as well as Brexit.

MP Margaret Beckett reacted to rumours of a Labour party split. Picture: SkyMP Margaret Beckett reacted to rumours of a Labour party split. Picture: Sky

Letters: There’s no need for a new party - we have the Lib Dems

On today’s politics shows, the talking point was met with doubt from senior Labour figures.

Dame Margaret Beckett said people have been working hard for years to split the party.

“I think it’s a big mistake,” she told Sky’s Sophy Ridge today.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said that Labour has addressed all issues fuelling a possible split. Picture: BBCShadow chancellor John McDonnell said that Labour has addressed all issues fuelling a possible split. Picture: BBC

“I hope none of my colleagues take that advice [to split], because it’s the worst possible advice they can have, at the most basic and brutal level.

“If you want to change an organisation, you don’t change it by leaving it.

“It wouldn’t be good for them or for the party.”

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said on the Andrew Marr show that the party has addressed any issues worth splitting over.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham quashed rumours of a Labour party split. Picture: SkyGreater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham quashed rumours of a Labour party split. Picture: Sky

“For example, saying on Brexit, well, we’re holding the party together on Brexit.

“Those who are saying ‘well, we’ll split if we don’t get a people’s vote’ - well we still kept that option on the table, it might come about.

“Why split over that?”

Second Brexit referendum only ‘in extremis’, says shadow chancellor

Meanwhile, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham told Sophy Ridge that a split wasn’t inevitable at all and that his parliamentary colleagues are still loyal to the party.

He also managed to flip the issue back to a discussion on the Conservative government’s handling of Brexit.

“I think the big thing that people felt [in the referendum] wasn’t just that they wanted a different relationship with the EU, they wanted this parliament to work differently .

“We’re still waiting on the government to give us compensation for the moorland fire ... this isn’t the normal running of government.”

KC and the Sunshine Band have yet to comment on the issue.

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