Today I’ve announced that I am leaving the Labour Party and
will continue to sit in Parliament representing Nottingham East in a new
independent group of MPs.
I wanted to send this MP Update newsletter today so that you
could read my reasons directly.
I’ve been in the Labour Party for over 30 years. But the
Labour Party I joined – the Party I have campaigned for and believed in – is no
longer today’s Labour Party.
I tried my hardest to save it. I argued as strenuously as I
could for my centre-left values within the Party for the past few years. But
sadly it has now been hijacked by the machine politics of the hard left.
My values haven’t changed – I oppose this Conservative
Government and desperately want a sensible alternative to pursue the fight
against poverty and discrimination by extending opportunities for all.
But British politics is now broken and in all good
conscience I can’t knock on doors and advocate supporting a Government led by
Jeremy Corbyn or the team around him.
For me, the last straw has been Labour’s betrayal on
Europe. The Labour frontbench have offered to enable Brexit. They have
constantly held back from allowing you to have the final say on any deal.
Even the hopes many had put in last September’s Labour
conference policy has been brushed aside: no ‘guaranteed full participation in
the Single Market’; no ‘exact same benefits’; no movement towards a People’s
Choosing to stand back and observe from the sidelines, while
your livelihood and future opportunities are hurt by Brexit, is a fundamental
violation of Labour’s traditional values.
But my differences with the Labour Party leadership go far
deeper than Brexit. The past three years have confirmed how irresponsible it
would be to allow this Leader of the Opposition to take the office of Prime
Minister of the United Kingdom. Very many people still in the Labour Party will
privately admit this to be true – and I owe it to you now to say this publicly
The Labour Party’s policy choices are now the wrong choices.
The pursuit of an approach that would threaten our national security, including
their hostility to NATO.
The refusal to act when needed to help those facing
Preferring to believe states hostile to our country, rather
than believing our police and security services.
These choices all root back to the Labour leadership’s
obsession with a narrow, outdated Marxist ideology.
They are hostile to businesses, large and small. They make
impossible and dishonest promises which everyone knows, in their hearts,
couldn’t be kept without putting our economy at risk.
They constantly pit one part of society against another –
because to them the world divides between ‘oppressor’ and ‘oppressed’, class
enemies, when in truth the modern world is more complicated than this.
And then there is the appalling culture now riddled
throughout the Labour Party nationally and locally. Intolerance. Closing down
of debate. Abuse and hatred online and offline in Party meetings. Antisemitism.
So, together with other parliamentary colleagues, we have
had to say collectively: enough is enough.
That is why we have come together to sit as a new
Independent Group of MPs – and if you want to know more about the values we
share and how we intend to go forward, please visit our website at www.theindependent.group
I believe our primary duty as Members of Parliament is to
put the best interests of our constituents and our country
first. Yet like so many others, those of us today forming
the Independent Group believe that none of today’s political parties
are fit to provide the leadership and direction needed by our
Our aim will be to 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, rather than
locked in the old politics of the 20th century in the party’s
As an Independent Group we aim to recognise the
value of healthy debate, show tolerance towards different opinions
and seek to reach across outdated divides and build consensus to tackle
I believe –
- Ours is a great country of which people are rightly
where the first duty of government must be to defend its people and do
whatever it takes to safeguard Britain’s national security
- Britain works best as a diverse, mixed social market
economy, in which well-regulated private enterprise can reward aspiration
and drive economic progress and where government has the responsibility to
ensure the sound stewardship of taxpayer’s money and a stable, fair and
- A strong economy means we can invest in our public
believe the collective provision of public services and the NHS can be
delivered through government action, improving health and educational life
chances, protecting the public, safeguarding the vulnerable, ensuring
dignity at every stage of life and placing individuals at the heart of
- The people of this country have the ability to create
fairer, more prosperous communities for present and future
generations. We believe that this creativity is best realised in a society
which fosters individual freedom and supports all families.
- The barriers of poverty, prejudice and discrimination
facing individuals should be removed and advancement occur on the basis of
merit, with inequalities reduced through the extension of opportunity, givingindividuals the skills and means to open new doors and fulfil
- Individuals are capable of taking responsibility
if opportunities are offered to them, everybody can and should make a
contribution to society and that contribution should be recognised. Paid
work should be secure and pay should be
- Our free media, the rule
of law, and our open, tolerant and respectful democratic society should be cherished and
- Our parliamentary
democracy in which our elected representatives deliberate, decide and
provide leadership, held accountable by their whole electorate is the best
system of representing the views of the British people.
- In order to face the
challenges and opportunities presented by globalisation, migration and
technological advances, we believe the multilateral, international
rules-based order must be strengthened and reformed. We believe in
maintaining strong alliances with our closest European and international
allies on trade, regulation, defence, security and counter-terrorism
- As part of the global community we have a
responsibility to future generations to protect our environment,
safeguard the planet, plan development sustainably and to act on the
urgency of climate change.
- Power should be devolved to the most appropriate
level, trusting and involving local communities. More powers and
representation should be given to local government to act in the best
interests of their communities.
My commitment to pursue these values in Parliament
representing the people of Nottingham East continues as strongly as ever. Our
city faces massive challenges in the years ahead and so I shall do my best to
press for the investment and reforms we need. Whether it is the refurbishment
of QMC Emergency Department, action to make Nottingham Prison safer, safeguards
for those being transferred onto Universal Credit, a strategy to eradicate
homelessness in the city centre, improvements in education standards in
Nottingham, all require a voice to influence decision-makers locally and
nationally. I will continue to remain in dialogue with you through these MP
Update newsletters each week when Parliament is in session and if you need to
contact me for help or assistance please get in touch at this email or
telephone 0115 956 9429 or write to me at 12 Regent Street NG1 5BQ.
Independent Group MP for Nottingham East