On Monday morning, seven Labour MPs announced at a press conference in Westminster that they had resigned from the Labour Party and would now sit in an independent bloc in the House of Commons.

The seven MPs said they had concerns with the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and the “hard left” that they argue has taken over the Labour Party.

They also accused Labour of being institutionally anti-Semitic.

The group will operate under the name The Independent Group, and has set out its beliefs on a website that went live on Monday morning.

Read more: Who are The Independence Group?

The group says it will “pursue policies that are evidence-based, not led by ideology, taking a long-term perspective to the challenges of the 21st century in the national interest.”

It argues for centre-left policy, including “diverse, mixed social economy,” and “inequalities reduced through the extension of opportunity”.

Who are the breakaway Labour MPs?

Chuka Umunna


By far the most high-profile of the seven is Chuka Umunna, who has long been marked out as a potential centre-left challenger to Jeremy Corbyn within the Labour party.

Umunna is the MP for Streatham in London, and joined the House in the 2010 intake of MPs.

Prior to his election, Umunna worked as a solicitor for the London-based Herbert Smith law firm, where he worked on employment law.

Umunna briefly ran for leader of the Labour Party in the leadership contest that followed the 2015 General Election.

He withdrew his candidacy after just three days, saying that he felt “uncomfortable” with the “added level of scrutiny that came with being a leadership candidate”.

Umunna had previously served in the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Business Secretary under Ed Miliband.

He supported Labour’s replacement of tuition fees with a graduate tax, and was supportive of Tory Chancellor George Osborne’s ‘Northern Powerhouse’ initiative.

Luciana Berger


Luciana Berger has been the MP for Liverpool Wavertree since 2010.

She made a name for herself in Parliament campaigning against food poverty, an issue that she promoted in a 2012 film Breadline Britain.

Like Chuka Umunna, Berger served as a shadow minister in Ed Miliband’s Shadow Cabinet, where she held the Climate Change and Public Health portfolios.

Berger is Jewish, and in recent weeks has been at the centre of the latest furore over anti-Semitism within the Labour Party.

Two no-confidence motion were filed against her within her constituency that were widely interpreted by commentators and Labour members to be anti-Semitic.

Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson called for the Liverpool Wavertree Constituency Labour Party to be suspended.

Today, she said the Labour Party had "a culture of bullying, bigotry and intimidation," and that she was “embarrassed and ashamed to stay”.

Mike Gapes


Unlike Umunna and Berger, who joined parliament in 2010, Mike Gapes has been an MP for more than 25 years.

He was elected to Ilford South in 1992, and has a history of opposing far-left influences in the Labour Party.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Gapes was a founding member of the Clause Four group in Labour student politics, which supported the centrist Tribune group of Labour MPs.

He opposed the Militant tendency group that was operating in the National Organisation of Labour Students.

Between 2005 and 2010, Gapes was the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, and has outspoken views on global affairs.

He is pro-EU, an advocate of Kurdish human rights, and last year argued that the UK Government should reconsider its relationship with Pakistan because of the persecution of Christians.

He has long criticised Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party.

This morning, Gapes said: “"I am sickened that Labour is now perceived by many as a racist, anti-Semitic party."

Chris Leslie


Chris Leslie is the MP for Nottingham East, where he has held a seat since 2010.

Previously, he was MP for Shipley, in West Yorkshire, from 1997 to 2005.

He has held several high-profile positions within the Labour Party, and served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Cabinet office and Under-Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs under Tony Blair.

In opposition, he was appointed as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer under the interim leadership of Harriet Harman in 2015.

In 2007, Leslie led Gordon Brown’s campaign for leadership of the Labour Party.

Like Luciana Berger, Leslie has had a fractious relationship with his Constituency Labour Party.

In September last year, Leslie was subject to a vote of no confidence by Nottingham East members, who argued that he had been “disloyal” to Jeremy Corbyn.

Leslie responded that the party had been taken over by the “intolerant hard left”, a remark he echoed today at the Independent Group press conference.

He said that the Labour Party had been “hijacked by the machine politics of the hard left”.

Angela Smith


Angela Smith is the MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, in South Yorkshire.

In her speech on Monday morning, she told the story of her life and her working-class childhood in Grimsby.

“People do not want to be patronised by left-wing intellectuals who think that being poor and working class constitutes a state of grace,” she said.

Like the other six MPs in the Independent Group, Smith criticised the leftward drift of the Labour Party, which she said was “characterised by intolerance and fuelled by hatred for anything other than a hard left political agenda”.

Smith has sat in Penistone and Stockbridge since 2010, although she previously represented Sheffield Hillsborough from 2005 to 2010.

She has been critical of Jeremy Corbyn in the past, supporting the vote of no confidence against him in 2016 that eventually resulted in his re-election as party leader.

Smith faced a no-confidence motion against her in her Constituency Labour Party, where members took issue with her opposition to Corbyn and her support of fracking.

She is married to a Labour Party councillor from Sheffield, who she also employs as her parliamentary aide.

Gavin Shuker


Gavin Shuker was elected as MP for Luton South in 2010, after working as a church leader in Luton.

Shuker progressed up the Labour Party ranks quickly after his election, becoming a Parliamentary Private Secretary to Sadiq Khan as Shadow Justice Secretary just five months after taking his seat.

His Christian faith has informed his voting record as an MP. In 2013, he abstained from voting on same-sex marriage, and threatened to resign if the Labour Party imposed a three-line whip on the bill, making voting for the motion compulsory.

Shuker has had an active parliamentary career, working All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) on Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade, Kashmir and Human Trafficking and Modern-Day Slavery.

At the press conference for the Independent Group on Monday morning, Shuker said that the values of the new group "no longer find expression in today's broken politics”.

He added: “Today, the Labour party is riddled with anti-Semitism, it presents a threat to our national security and it’s perfectly content to enable the hard Tory Brexit that will directly and negatively affect people in Luton.”

It has since emerged that the Independent Group’s financial backers are a company established by Gavin Shuker last month.

Ann Coffey


Ann Coffey has been Member of Parliament for Stockport since 1992, the same year that Mike Gapes took office in Ilford South.

She started her career as a social worker, before becoming a councillor at Stockport Borough Council in 1984.

She has campaigned most prolifically on child exploitation and child sexual abuse and is the chair of the APPG for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults.

In October 2014 she published a report into child exploitation in Manchester, which she followed up with a successful campaign to remove all references to ‘child prostitution’ from UK legislation.

Coffey was instrumental in the tabling of a no confidence motion in Jeremy Corbyn in 2016, two days after the Brexit referendum.

At the Independent Group‘s press conference  this morning, she cited Labour’s position on Brexit and the party’s failure to deal with anti-Semitism as her reason for leaving the party.