New Independent Group in Parliament Launches

Just in case things weren’t confusing enough after the Change UK/Independent Group split, a new grouping called The Independents has now launched, including some – but not all – of the rump of the Independent Group. Rather than being a party they say they are structured as a “co-operative” instead. Hopefully they manage to work together more cooperatively than Change UK did

At launch they have five MPs – Independent Groupers Heidi Allen, Luciana Berger, Gavin Shuker and Angela Smith plus former Labour MP John Woodcock, although there’s no sign of Sarah Wollaston. Looks like they won’t be following Chuka to the Lib Dems just yet…

They are making a big feature of their values, rather than political positions, and their independent complaints procedure which Woodcock has already referred himself to in order to resolve the outstanding Labour complaint which Labour deliberately left hanging over him. Can they succeed where TIG/CUK/RA/FC_N failed…?

UPDATE: Even more confusingly, they’re separate from another pet project launched today by Heidi Allen called “Unite to Remain” which will try to get the unruly mass of pro-Remain parties to work together. Or alternatively, try to maintain any sort of media relevance for Heidi herself…

Angela Smith’s ‘Funny Tinge’ Excuse: “I Was Tired”

Day two of The Independent Group isn’t going entirely swimmingly, as spokesperson Angela Smith told Sky News she “misspoke” on Politics Live yesterday because she was “tired”.

“No, err, and I know, err, I obviously, look, aha, I never meant to say that… erm, a, I… I misspoke really badly – I was very very tired at that point. I had had six hours of press… erm… engagement and I was very tired, and erm, you know, it’s… I was, I was very tired. I misspoke really really badly and that’s not who I am.”

Guido wonders how Smith would have found six hours of media engagement between the 10am launch of The Independent Group, and the 12:15 broadcast of Politics Live…

Angela Smith Posts Grovelling “Funny Tinge” Apology Video

The Independent Group’s largely smooth launch has quickly become overshadowed by a race row after Angela Smith had to stop herself from completing a sentence describing BAME people as having a “funny tinge”. Now Smith has posted a grovelling video apologising for “any offence caused” and saying she is “very upset” that she “misspoke so badly”. Not a good look when you’ve supposedly just left the Labour Party over its institutional racism…

Seven Labour MPs Resign and Form “The Independent Group”

Seven Labour MPs have announced their resignation from the Labour party and the formation a new group called “The Independent Group”. The seven are Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker and Anne Coffey. They have released a full ‘Statement of Independence’ explaining their decision…

Labour Trolls Remain MP

Labour Remainer Angela Smith was left standing outside Labour HQ for twenty minutes attempting to hand in a petition with 45,000 signatures demanding that Jeremy Corbyn backs a second referendum. But no one from Labour would come down to let her in and collect the petition…

It was left to a member of staff at the Southside building that houses Labour HQ to eventually tell Angela Smith and her petition to go away. Despite the Labour Party telling her that she could hand it in at the desk…

Eventually Angela appeared to decide that her petition isn’t going to go anywhere and off she trotted…

People’s Vote Infighting

Whilst most of the media is focused on Tory infighting and Corbyn’s incoherent and contradictory strategy the People’s Vote crowd are escaping attention. It will be no surprise when Guido tells you there is lots of infighting there too…

The main split is between those Labour MPs like Chris Leslie and Angela Smith who want to use it as reason for walking away from the Labour Party and setting up new party and those who want to try and win McDonnell and Corbyn over to the cause as the best way of getting a second referendum and stopping Brexit. They all despise Tom Baldwin who serves effectively at the pleasure of Alastair Campbell, who along with Blair is the real overlord of the whole thing. The Blairites are very definitely pulling the strings.

Baldwin is obsessed with polls and many on the campaign suspect he got the multi-millionaire Julian Dunkerton, who co-founded the Superdry fashion label, to make the weird precondition of his £1 million donation that it all be spent on polling. Good for YouGov’s profits, with the result that the campaign has an overload of pointless polls telling them nothing really new, which they can’t even turn into stories now the media narrative is all about the shenanigans in parliament.

Some Labour MPs think Baldwin and Campbell are trying to make it all about them and cutting them out. Chuka is especially irked so now sends out his own press releases implying they are from the official People’s Vote – though they are definitely not.

Money is a sensitive subject, because the People’s Vote campaign is at war with Best for Britain, who refused to join the remain coalition. Best for Britain are funded by Soros so have cash but are politically clueless and “p*ssing it up the wall” on Facebook according to People’s Vote insiders.

Every time Best for Britain get attacked in The Telegraph Soros writes another cheque. This infuriates the People’s Vote campaign who consider Best for Britain to be amateurs and political novices – the Lib Dem B-team and third sector campaigners.

Even Best for Britain co-founder Gina Miller quit the organisation to set up her own group ‘End the Chaos.’ This seems to double as a personal Gina Miller photography and publicity campaign, pouring resources into taking pictures of her standing on cliffs and on roads, staring into the middle distance. End the chaos indeed…

Labour MPs Accuse Corbyn of “Deliberately Baiting” British Jews

Labour MPs are queuing up to condemn their leader in response to our scoop last night. Wes Streeting tells Guido it was a “deliberate affront to the majority of British Jews”:

“What on earth was he thinking? This demonstrates either extraordinarily bad judgement or a deliberate affront to the majority of British Jews. Probably both. It calls into serious question the sincerity of every public statement Jeremy Corbyn has made on antisemitism during the past week, just as many of us hoped we had begun to make progress.”

John Woodcock accuses Corbyn of “deliberately baiting” mainstream Jews:

Angela Smith says:

Jewish Labour Movement:

“Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to spend his evening with an organisation that said “F *** you ” to Jews who have serious
and well founded concerns over antisemitism within the Labour Party, has truly topped off the worst week on record of awful relations between the Labour Party and the Jewish community.

When we called on the Leader of our Party to show moral leadership, and take decisive action to stamp out antisemitism, this is not what we had in mind.

Jewish Party activists have spent the weekend knocking on doors for local candidates for Council elections across the country. They do not deserve the indignity of our Leader making this situation even worse.”

Elsewhere, Karen Pollock of the Holocaust Educational Trust is even more damning:

Stay tuned – more on the group Corbyn chose to meet coming up…

Silent Corbyn Under Pressure on Anti-Semitism

First Mandelson and then Labour’s Angela Smith gave their dithering leader both barrels on Wato:

Mark Mardell: Is Jeremy Corbyn doing enough?

Angela Smith: Well I think Jeremy Corbyn has a role to play here as the leader of the Labour Party. I think the entire leadership of the Labour Party, the Shadow Cabinet, really has to get out there and make it absolutely clear there is no place in the party for this behaviour.

MM: So they’re not doing that now?

AS: Well I think Jeremy could do more. I think Jeremy really needs to come out and say publicly that he will not tolerate this in the party. He said it privately at the PLP last night. I think he needs to come out and say it.

Some in Labour are doing this best to say this isn’t about Corbyn. Clearly not everyone agrees.

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