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A brief history of the defections and resignations in the British Parliament

W Stephen Gilbert

(back row left to right) Chris Leslie, Gavin Shuker, Chuka Umunna and Mike Gapes, (middle row, left to right) Angela Smith, Luciana Berger and Ann Coffey, (front row, left to right) Sarah Wollaston, Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Joan Ryan, following a press conference for the Independent Group where the three Conservative MPs, Wollaston, Allen and Soubry, announced their resignation from the party. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo Wednesday February 20, 2019. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Tony Benn used to say that he grew more radical as he got older. As in many things, Benn was unusual. People are generally apt to grow more reactionary as they get older. This is particularly true of MPs of all persuasions. For all its timid and marginal reforms of itself, the Palace of Westminster is still more like a traditional gentlemen’s club than any other institution. MPs are easily lulled by the comforts and the rhythms of the House.

Generally, MPs sit on about 150 days each year, spread over some 35 weeks, with sessions of up to eight hours on the first four days of sitting weeks. Of course, the relative diligence and application of each MP is up to her, depending to a degree on how safe her seat is, how much attention the media pays to her, whether she is an ideologue, how extensive are her interests outside the House, and how many parliamentary roles she is prepared to take on.

MPs enjoy multiple benefits: clerical and research assistance; a constant flow of information; privileged access to a great many desirable resources, events and contacts; subsidised food and drink; and scope for claiming whopping expenses on top of the £77,000+ annual salary for a backbencher. They are automatically cast as public figures and may parlay themselves into being household names with all the dividends such fame brings.

Becoming an MP projects you into a dizzying world of statesmen and women, diplomats, international financiers, captains of industry, media executives, intellectuals and celebrities of all kinds. That many members lose touch with their grassroots, particularly if their voters are far away both physically and in their daily circumstances, is hardly to be wondered at. The perks of wielding power, even no more power than ready access to ministers, can become addictive. It’s easy enough for them to forget what they came to Westminster to do.

Some are ambitious from the start. When he was first elected aged 32 at the 2010 election and became Parliamentary Private Secretary to the party leader Ed Miliband within four months, Chuka Umunna must have feel that the top of the greasy pole was already in sight. “A week in politics is a long time” as Harold Wilson taught us, and one may proceed “from zero to hero”, as the saying goes, in surprisingly short order.

My mother died in July 1988. She was reasonably well informed but I’m sure she would not have heard of the then Chief Secretary to the Treasury (one of the least visible government posts). Yet in less than two-and-a-half years, he was prime minister. John Major’s rise was unusually meteoric. Not till Donald Trump and Jeremy Corbyn both came from the margins in a matter of months were there comparable phenomena in western leadership.

But you never know with politics. Falls from grace can be very much swifter. Stephen Crabb was evidently seen by both David Cameron and George Osborne as the anointed successor, and he duly put himself forward after Cameron’s resignation. He yielded to Theresa May, but retained his post as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, credibly the crown prince. Within four months, he was back on the backbenches, having been revealed as a serial sexual harasser by text. Given that anger against sex pests has grown and hardened since Crabb’s fall, it seems highly unlikely that he will ever hold office again.

It’s not only scandalous, corrupt or inappropriate behaviour that is apt to debar one from the front line. The great majority of those members who have permanently walked out on the parties in whose name they were elected have been rewarded with no further grip on the levers of power. As we have learnt this month, such loss of prospects never deters them. Leaving one’s party is the baby step in this ritual.

Joining an existing grouping is a more dramatic move and specifically moving to the opposite benches – as the three Tory quitters did – has dramatic and symbolic value. The nine who left Labour of course remained in opposition, so they merely rearranged themselves on the opposition benches. Moving to the opposite benches is known as crossing the floor. It is a ritual enacted frequently since the end of the seventeenth century.

The first MP to leave a major party in order to try to set up a new one was Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, a man steeped in the shenanigans of the politically active aristocracy when governance was dominated by dukes and earls. Though he sat for the same constituency for half a century, he was variously a minister in Tory, Whig and Peelite governments, not to mention the coalition known as the Ministry of All the Talents (1806-7).

In 1818, Williams Wynn attempted to set up a new party to support the cause of Earl Temple – Richard Temple-Nugent-Brydges-Chandos-Greville, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, to admit the full splendour of his hero’s name. The attempt failed and the conspirators rejoined the Tories, though some of them thought Williams Wynn too Whiggish to do so.

Williams Wynn and his elder brother, a fellow MP, were known as Bubble & Squeak. The younger man suffered from a speech impediment, ruthlessly mocked in the Commons, and when he unsuccessfully stood for the post of Speaker of the House, he inevitably became known as Mr Squeaker. Personal abuse of members is no new departure. However, he did become Father of the House and as an authority on parliamentary procedure, he was the most celebrated of the age.

In the modern era, the only comparably mobile politician has been the one-time SDP leader David Owen, who presently sits in the Lords as an “independent social democrat” but has supported Labour (including financially) under Corbyn’s leadership, some 35 years after he left the party under Michael Foot’s leadership.

Since World War II, there have been numerous departures from the main parties, most of them temporary, and a few crossings of the floor. In 1954, seven MPs left the Labour Party and sat as independents over the passionately debated issue of German rearmament. They all returned less than six months later, along with Nye Bevan, who had had the whip withdrawn for leading a revolt over nuclear testing only a month previously. Ten MPs resigned the Tory whip over Suez, a further seven (including Foot) the Labour whip over the nuclear issue. All returned later.

One of the highest profile defectors was Desmond Donnelly who in 1968 left Labour to sit independently over defence cuts and was subsequently expelled from Labour. He joined the Tories but then set up something called the Democratic Party, though its policies were to the right of almost the whole of the Conservative Party, and he lost his seat in 1970. Over his career, Donnelly changed parties five times. Four years after falling out of the public eye, he took his own life.

The largest parliamentary split before 1981 occurred in 1968 when 23 Labour MPs (including Foot again) abstained in a vote on spending cuts and were suspended for a month, sitting as independents. There were a couple more Labour departures over spending cuts in the 1970s, but the decade’s movements were most often inspired by the shifting dynamics of Northern Ireland representation. Some individual defections were covered with over-egged enthusiasm by the media – those of Dick Taverne, Reg Prentice, Christopher Mayhew and John Stonehouse. The creation of the Social Democratic Party in 1981 eventually led to 29 MPs, including Owen, Roy Jenkins and Shirley Williams, leaving Labour and one the Tories.

In 1991, Dave Nellist and Terry Fields were suspended by Labour for alleged links with Militant. In 1994, nine Tories were suspended for not supporting a confidence motion in John Major’s government. Over the next few years, several Tory MPs scattered in various directions, among them Emma Nicholson, George Gardiner, Peter Temple-Morris, and Alan Howarth, Quentin Davies and Shaun Woodward, these last three given ministerial jobs by Tony Blair, even though they might be characterised as ‘entryists’. Among prominent Labour MPs who jumped ship were Brian Sedgemore and Clare Short.

The 2010s brought several whip suspensions as a result of the expenses scandal. In 2014, Duncan Carswell and Mark Reckless defected from the Tories to UKIP and unusually had the gumption to test their decision at by-elections, which they both won. Reckless lost his seat in the 2015 general election and Carswell fell out with UKIP. It’s worth noting here that Jeremy Corbyn, who legendarily defied the whip 428 times during the Labour governments of 1997-2010, has never resigned the whip or had it withdrawn and indeed has never voted with the Tories against Labour. His defiance has always been aimed at inducing the PLP to be more Socialist.

In the last year or two, various MPs have been suspended or have resigned in face of alleged breaches. Frank Field, a career maverick, has sat as an independent since August last year and the Liberal Democrat Stephen Lloyd resigned the whip in December because of his opposition to a further referendum on EU membership, to a conspicuous lack of media attention.

Politics is a spectrum. Harold Wilson famously accounted the Labour Party “broad church”, a description that also covers the Tories and the SNP, less so the LibDems. The parties in Northern Ireland might justly be deemed narrow church. From its very inception, Labour has been an uneasy alliance of Socialists and Social Democrats. As is true of so many organisations, enmity between allies can be sharper than that felt towards one’s formal enemies.

It’s no surprise, then, that some individuals feel themselves becoming detached from the mother ship. Indeed, Margaret Thatcher’s press secretary notoriously dubbed the liberally-minded cabinet minister John Biffen “semi-detached”. Biffen himself went further; after Thatcher dropped him from office, he described her as Stalinist, an insult in Tory circles quite as potent as calling someone racist is in Labour. However, Biffen never resigned the whip or had it withdrawn.

Sir Hartley Shawcross was Attorney General in the Attlee government and notoriously declared “we are the masters now” after the 1945 landslide. Always an individualist, he grew disenchanted with Labour and, though remaining a Labour MP, was nicknamed Sir Shortly Floorcross. When he was elevated to the Lords in 1959, he sat as a crossbencher.

And then there are the February 2019 defections. It remains to be seen if they remain independents – they call themselves the Independent Group – or launch a coherent party to challenge all the others or return to their respective parties of origin. However, Labour has moved smartly to replace the defectors as candidates in their constituencies, so that last option will not remain open unless they can secure party nominations elsewhere.

Given the vehemence of their condemnation of the respective parties that they have left, the chances of reconciliation look slight. Party loyalists take the understandable view that these MPs are now numbered among their opponents and hence do not merit kind words. The three departing Tory MPs cited the ‘culture’ in the party as quite as significant in their decision as was leaving the EU. As an opponent of the Tories, I agree with them about the culture, but I imagine there will be many loyal party members working their socks off for the party at the grass roots who will bitterly resent the implication that they are not as high-minded as the three, just as thousands of Labour members resent being embraced in an indiscriminate condemnation of the party by its own malcontents.

Politics is widely said to be in an evil-minded phase. Nothing that has occurred this month has ameliorated that mood. But the defectors need to remember that, apart from Roy Jenkins being appointed President of the EU Commission, none of those who left to form the SDP ever held high office again.

W Stephen Gilbert has been a writer, journalist and sometime television producer since 1971, when his first play appeared in the first season of Play for Today on BBC1. His books include first biographies of Dennis Potter and Jeremy Corbyn. He mostly passes his twilight years indexing other writers’ books.


  1. Marou says

    I thought Off Guardian was devoted to articles the Guardian wouldn’t print for sinister reasons. Clearly the policy is now to give a platform to any ‘will this do?’ google trawl which no reputable output would give space to for fear of sending its readers to sleep. Stick to indexing, Gilbert.

    • It’s fine to disagree with the content of any article but why choose to be so rude? You lose all credibility by not expressing your own opinion of the subject matter or giving reasons as to what points you do not accept as being valid. Simply posting sarky comments attacking the writer and media platform, you come across as a troll.

  2. In India, any politician elected to a body (parliament, state legislature, local council, whatever) from one party who resigns his or her party membership is, under a law promulgated back in the 1980s, automatically removed from the seat he or she occupies and has to seek election again.

  3. Michael McNulty says

    So they’re Independent enough to leave their party but not independent enough to leave their party seat?

  4. A very interesting and informative article.

    Despite the media coverage, feel the actions of these defectors is more a distraction than anything meaningful because they don’t have the numbers. Noticable though that all of them want a second referendum but yet none are willing to put their so called outward looking, centrist politics to the test and allow their constituents who afterall, voted for each of them under a different banner and a specific manifesto, a chance to decide … how democratic.

    Our shameful system of governance is now so deeply flawed that despite extensive evidence of wrong doing, including: expense abuses; cash for honour scandals and Parliamentarians using their positions of influence for their own financial gain. Yet, Westminster continues to allow these same individuals to not only scrutinise their own deceitful behaviour but it actively prevents investigation by restricting access to information that may lead to wrong doing being uncovered:

    All of which tells us that a culture of parasitic greed and self-interest is now so entrenched within Westminster and scrutiny is so weak, there’s very little attempt to even pretend to be embarrassed any longer. Instead, it actually enables those on the make and on the take to continuously service their own blatant greed!

    To understand the real reasons why our economic and political systems are broken and why UK regulation and scrutiny is so weak, we only need to look at:

    – The numbers of politicians who have accepted the corporate coin.

    – The level of nepotism within political parties.

    – A flawed party candidate selection process; easily manipulated and often eads to the worst type of individual becoming politicians.

    – Attempts to cover up expense abuses and wrongdoing within Westminster.

    – The sheer scale of lobbying scandals and dodgy dealings between parliamentarians and big business; together with the grubby collusion and blatant attempts by political parties to stop this information being made public.

    The swamp people refer to when they talk about establishment covers up and greed is narcissism and this is the root cause of much of what is wrong within our systems of governance. All of which tells us:

    * Most regulatory systems in the UK are weak and not fit for purpose.

    * Those tasked with drawing up regulation or scrutinising regulation are often not up to the task.

    To understand why scrutiny is so weak, we need to look at the relationship between corporations and parliament where politicians from both houses can often be found on the pay roll of big business or are land owners or own rental properties.

    Is it any wonder then why those who have cashed-in and voted to stop all types of wrong doing being uncovered are often the same parliamentarians who have shamefully voted in favour of increasing student debt, proxy wars and cutting disability payments at the same time as accepting an 11% pay increase for themselves?

    Is it any wonder why large corporations are not paying their fair share when the very people we elect to legislate and scrutinise can often be found on the pay roll of big business and allowed to accept all sorts of iffy sponsorship and corporate coinage. Worse still, some of the worst offenders are actually rewarded with bling bling titles under the guise of public service.

    And, is it really any wonder why the media in the UK largely promotes propaganda and continually gives a platform to the views of neo con/lib politicians instead, of reporting what’s really going on; when it’s owned by a few billionaires intent on controlling the flow of information that serves their own twisted interests?

    It’s only when the scale of wrongdoing is viewed as having reached critical levels where it’s impact is causing immense hardship & suffering to large & increasing numbers of the population will a tipping point be reached and action for real change be demanded. Until then, the pretence, collusion and establishment indifference will continue.

  5. The Palace of Westminster is ‘still more like a traditional gentlemen’s club’ because of people like Tony Benn, Viscount of Stansgate, someone that, as son and grandson of MP’s, could play at ‘radical’ politics meanwhile he busied himself promoting his sons and grandsons’ political careers and consolidating his parliamentary dynasty in that illustrious Palace. Benn is the quintessential example of a type of oligarchic politics that prevents the limitation of mandates and, therefore, promotes and furthers the expropriation of public office and the use of the Labour Party in the benefit of a minority of exploiters and, ultimately, justifies the undemocratic defections and ‘leavings’ that we see yesterday and today.

    • Paul says

      Very true. I’ve been dipping into Benn’s diaries (particularly in relation to the 1st Referundum) and was struck by his allegiance to aristocratic tradition; he clearly saw himself as part of that. He arranged his children’s weddings etc in the Commons chapel and delighted in showing people the paintings in No 10 of his father and grandfather both of whom were senior politicians who served in governments. He was part of a dynasty and wanted his offspring to take their place at the top of British society. Recently people have been saying he would be turning in his grave at the antics of his son Hilary. I doubt it, they share huge ‘respect’ for the Establishment and only want to retain their places within it.

      • That’s right. The Benns are just helping themselves and they carry out consistent family policies through an adulterated Labour.

      • A process of de-industrialisation to destroy the industrial proletariat in Britain, aided by the grandees of the Labour Party. Déjà vu.

      • Clicked on the link and watched 40 mins of the film you quoted last night to see if it confirmed your claim. It’s mostly about Jim Slater and Tiny Rowlands’s record of buying and asset stripping companies. Only point where Tony Benn is mentioned is at 26.09 – 26.35 for 23 seconds which reveals nothing of significance. Film does say Labour party was duped by Jim Slater’s claim of increasing productivity but’s that’s about it.

        Can you please explain why you feel this film reveals information that shows Tony Benn in what you seem to regard as a negative light when there’s nothing in the film to support it?

      • @Mikalina

        No evidence to support your claim about Tony Benn in the Adam Curtis film. You’ve chosen not to reply which suggests you made it up and was simply trolling!

    • mark says

      Tony Benn was one of the few genuine socialist politicians and a person of rare integrity, fighting against imperialism, exploitation, and for social justice all his life.

      No one can control the circumstances of their birth. It is no more acceptable to sneer at someone’s privileged background than it is to sneer at a deprived background.

  6. Fair dinkum says

    The vast majority of politicians around the world serve two masters.
    Mammon and the Drainstream media.
    The Israeli hierarchy, the Military Industrial Complex, the One Per Cent and Corporate Oligarchs are merely the messengers for avarice.
    When one attains a seat in the foul cesspits of authority and lawmaking, one is obliged/coerced to play the perverse game of expediency.
    Unless one has a heart.
    The world is done for.

    • gotsyurblinkerson? says

      ….yes – all is a construction to serve the Game – where divison is priority – to confuse and rupture… keep the flock bleeting for more – so amazes me how folk just keep on believing this pathetic twaddle of containment – I guess they must get off on it….triggers them, makes them feel energized perhaps ?

  7. bevin says

    Skwawkbox is reporting that another Four will leave this weekend, with more to come so long as there is room on TV and in The Guardian for them.
    No doubt there will be the, now ritual, recitation of the idiotic canard that those who oppose Israeli imperialism are anti-semites.
    Or to put it in plain English if you object to the injustice being done to Palestinians you must hate Jews.
    This expression of solidarity with the Israeli government comes at a particularly embarrassing time for those who ignore that government’s roots in fascism, the chosen ideology of the Jabotinsky zionist revisionists, because Netanyahu, whose acts receive the undiluted approval of the Labour Friends of Israel, has chosen this moment
    “…Fearing defeat by the Centrist Right bloc of Benny Gantz’s Resilience and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid parties Netanyahu openly pressurized the far-Right Jewish Home-National Union religious settlers’ parties to unite with Otzma Yehudit, the direct descendants of Kahane’s Kach.”
    Times have changed since 1984 when
    “Rabbi Meir Kahane of Kach entered the Knesset with over 25,000 votes. Kach stood on a programme which, as The Times of Israel’s Michael Aarenau noted even members of Likud likened to the Nazis’ 1935 Nuremberg Race Laws…..
    “In 1988, when polls suggested that Kach could get between 4 and 12 seats, Kahane was banned from standing by the Supreme Court. The reason that Kach was banned had nothing to do with opposition to racism but a fear that the image of Israel would be damaged. In the four years that Kahane was a Knesset member, when he spoke all the other 119 members would walk out.
    “But yesterday what was trefa (unclean) has now become kosher. What used to be Zionism’s forbidden fruits have now become its delicacies. But even in 1984, what Kahane said openly the other Zionist parties muttered behind closed doors.
    “One can get an idea of Otzma Yehudit’s politics from its leader Michael Ben Ari, who was a member of the 18th Knesset for the National Union between 2009 and 2013. Apart from instigating a pogrom against Black African refugees in South Tel Aviv Ari is famous for tearing up a copy of the New Testament that a missionary sent him and putting it in a trash bin.
    “In September 2010 in response to being told that for every Israeli killed, six Palestinians had died, he remarked that “For every one dead on our side, we need to kill 500 and not six.” This was five times the number of hostages that the Nazis murdered in Yugoslavia for every German soldier killed. Ben-Ari holds left-wing Jews and human rights organisations in particular contempt, referring to them as “germs” that need to be eradicated. During the 2012 Operation Pillar of Defence he stated that “there are no innocents in Gaza…mow them down! Kill the Gazans without thought or mercy!” This is who Netanyahu has gone out of his way to ensure will be a member of the next Knesset.”
    THE above is edited from Tony Greenstein;’s blog http://azvsas.blogspot.com/ where much more detail and the original can be found.

    Suffice it to say that the current defectors from the Labour Party are supporters not only of Netanyahu’s extremist and violent government, which draws its ideology from classical fascists and religious fundamentalists who would make wahhabism look moderate, but of a party too hateful and racist for even the Knesset to listen to.
    It ought to alarm Labour Party supporters that such people have been hidden in plain view in the PLP for years. Their withdrawal from the party has to be welcomed as a voluntary cleansing.
    How the BBC and the media in general reconcile themselves to describing these people as heroes of moderation and enemies of the ‘racist bigotry’ that they claim motivates Brexit voters, it is impossible to imagine. If their bodies were as limber and double jointed as their minds they would harvest gold medals at any Olympiad.

    • mark says

      “One million Arab lives are not worth a Jewish finger nail.” Begin.

  8. Jay-Q says

    My 17 year old son is now smarter and sharper than me, I admit it – he thinks that the reason why the establishment (he just said ‘they’) are out to get Corbyn is because he would likely not go along with any future US war. The USUK alliance needs there to be two main party’s in power that would both go along with their warmongering (my words).

    I was like, wow, where did you get that from? Said that him and mates had been talking about it and that’s how they saw it from all the online games they play. WTF? This is some scary asymmetrical thinking these kids do these days and I thought I was ‘streetwise’! LOL

    From my perspective it is probably why many from the Israel wing of the Labour party has just left in such a way, with as much gusto and vitriol slung at Corbyn tin an effort to try and fatally wound his leadership.

    Check out the records of the TIG’s and they are all in favour of military intervention; Leslie and Gapes were both war hawk’s for Blair and New Labour.

    It was a sad and pathetic listening to Ian Austin today. What a wretched and devilishly conniving individual he is. He won his seat by 22 votes and won’t stand in a by-election. He said he has never felt so much shame as he does now about the Labour Party – guess he didn’t feel any shame for defrauding the public purse through his involvement in the MP expenses scandal, getting caught lying on claims forms, flipping property’s, etc.

    I had it put to me by someone in the Guardian comments section, “there’s no law requiring the 12 TIG’s to hold by-elections.” Yeah and there’s no law saying that there has to be a second referendum, which all the TIG’s are really after.

    We live in interesting times. Peace.

    • Anticitizen one says

      Perhaps that answers the burning question. Why is John Bolton not outraged at the lack of democracy in the corrupt dictatorship of the UK? If you’re reading this John there’s still a bit of oil and gas left in the North Sea.

      • Tom says

        The US is already in charge, so no need for another coup. Brexit gives them a chance to tighten their grip politically and plunder our economy, without EU oversight and regulation. That’s why they’re so desperate to have a corrupt Tory regime in charge rather than Corbyn – and hence they have leant on their New Labour Fifth column to resign and cause trouble.

  9. “From its very inception, Labour has been an uneasy alliance of Socialists and Social Democrats”

    Not even the most generous, revisionist definition of the term ‘social democrat’ can accommodate the likes of Shaun Woodward, Lord Digby Jones, Lord Sugar, etc. Thanks to Blair and Brown, the bulk of today’s PLP can still more accurately be termed neoliberals.

  10. DunGroanin says

    Absolutely hillarious censorship on Suzanne Moores opinion piece lecturing that the anti Corbynites shouldn’t be labelled Blairites.

    370 comments flagged. But they are disappeared!

    • Jules Moules says

      Damn, the majority of her vapid witterings are normally not open to comments. Missed this opportunity to get modded. Again.

  11. I fully expect to see Theresa Klebb join the Independence Group in the near term …

  12. John says

    They all have one thing in common……Zionism

  13. vexarb says

    Why was I not surprised when, intrigued by that Dracula family face in the centre, I read that it belonged to Luciana Berger?

    • vexarb says

      PS Mark has explained it below: Lucia, poor girl, happens to be the spitting image of Morticia in the Adams family. My subconscious was obviously undergoing a Proustian experience, a La Recherche du Temps Perdu.

  14. mark says

    This bunch of complete ar**holes and Zionist stooges won’t last 5 minutes beyond the next general election. It’s lost deposit time, folks. And that could be in weeks or a couple of months. They seem to think they’ve got a cosy billet till 2022, but they’re wrong. Brexit is 800 hours away and all bets are off. More disgruntled resignations from the mutinous community are on the cards by 29/3.

    And when they get their a*ses kicked out at the next GE, there won’t even be a cushy little Brussels sinecure in charge of bendy bananas on half a million euros a year. Maybe the Board of Deputies can find them a job counting the “epidemic of new anti semitic incidents.” Or they can earn a few shekels scribbling for the Guardian or the rest of the Zionist media.

    • Paul says

      They are Dead Duck MP’s like May is a Dead Duck PM. They’ll never stand again and must know it. Their influence drains away like a cheap battery. They don’t/can’t act as a group like a political party so they are immediately powerless beyond their media friends to showcase them. Anna is the only one with any sort of political ‘voice’, at least you can hear and understand what she’s saying however obnoxious it is. It’s hard to discern what the others are actually saying they are so shy of saying ‘Trying to Remain in the EU and ignore the 52%’. They must sense it’s not good politics so they end up saying it’s because Corbyn is a raving Nazi racist.

      • mark says

        May thought she had a 12 month lease of life when she survived Moggy’s assassination attempt. But there is a new move to force her out after the local elections in May (ie after April.) I think most of these clowns are living on borrowed time. We can get a general election any time. That’s what all the anti semitic garbage is about – just nobbling Jezza from getting in to 10 Downing St.

      • mark says

        The ugly bitch right in the middle looks like Morticia in the Addams Family. All we need now is Lurch and Uncle Fester.

        • Anticitizen one says

          If carlsberg did photoshoots it would be on that balcony with a phosphorus grenade.

    • Frankly Speaking says

      Ah, so charming to see dangerous Trotskyists alive and kicking in the Labour Party and here. Too dumb to realise that post-Brexit Britain will be one under the neoliberal and Atlantacist cosh.

      • mark says

        Don’t worry, Frank, they’re heavily outnumbered by all the 30 shekel whore Friends of Israel.

  15. Paul says

    I don’t think the Tiggers will take off until John Mann and Jess Phillips join them. No really! And they can’t afford to be so snooty about Ian Austin; they say they want to help the needy and there is a chance to give support to an old man with deep anger issues. But they turn their backs on him (more dangerous than they appreciate perhaps). And they ought to welcome in those under police or party investigations for abuse or fraud, they too deserve a break surely?

  16. Hmmmm… I think William Morris summed up ‘parliamentary democracy’ [sic] over century ago:

    “There — it sickens one to have to wade through this grimy sea of opportunism. What a spectacle of shuffling, lies, vacillation and imbecility does this Game Political offer to us? I cannot conclude without an earnest appeal to those Socialists, of whatever section, who may be drawn towards the vortex of Parliamentarism, to think better of it while there is yet time.

    “If we ally ourselves to any of the presen[t] parties they will only use us as a cat’s-paw; and on the other hand, if by any chance a Socialist slips through into Parliament, he will do so at the expense of leaving his principles behind him; he will certainly not be returned as a Socialist, but as something else; what else is hard to say. As I have written before in these columns, Parliament is going just the way we would have it go. Our masters are feeling very uncomfortable under the awkward burden of GOVERNMENT, and do not know what to do, since their sole aim is to govern from above. Do not let us help them by taking part in their game. Whatever concessions may be necessary to the progress of the Revolution can be wrung out of them at least as easily by extra-Parliamentary pressure, which can be exercised without losing one particle of those principles which are the treasure and hope of Revolutionary Socialists.” — William Morris, the Commonweal, Volume 1, Number 10, November 1885, p. 93.

  17. Jay-Q says

    I’ll just leave this here, it’s hilarious!

    • Ray Raven says

      Well beyond hilarious.
      The commentary is accurate, correct and brilliant.


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