Frank Field resigns the Labour whip over 'anti-Semitism'

Labour Party protests

Labour MP John Mann, who has been a vocal critic of the party leadership, said Jeremy Corbyn should make the move to "shut up some of the extremists".

Veteran parliamentarian Frank Field has resigned the Labour whip to serve as an independent Labour MP, sparking uncertainty over his role as chair of the Work and Pensions Committee (WPC).

Always seen as something of a political loner, resigning the Labour whip underscores the independent streak that has become his trademark. "The first was Jared O'Mara in Sheffield, so that should be the first by-election and that would be a very interesting test".

Commenting on Mr Field's decision to resign the Labour Party whip Oxton Liberal Democrat councillor Stuart Kelly told the Globe: "Frank Field's reasons for leaving the Labour Party are self-evident".

"One thing that the Labour leader could do today is he could announce that all the Jewish MPs are re-standing automatically as Labour candidates at the next election, that would shut up some of the extremists".

However, Mr Field added that he felt Mr Corbyn's thanks for his service was "as though I was resigning from a whist club" and pointed out that he had been a member of Labour longer than his leader.

He has quit the Labour whip over the leadership's handling of anti-Semitism allegations but wants to continue sitting as an "independent Labour" MP.

But Corbyn-supporting members of Labour have criticised Mr Field's decision.

The MP for Birkenhead told Labour's chief whip Nick Brown that the party's leadership was overseeing an "erosion of our core values".

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He said: "Frank Field's resignation is a damning indictment of Jeremy Corbyn's total inability to take action against bullying and antisemitic racism within Labour".

Mr Field lost a no confidence vote by local party members over his support for the prime minister, and all eyes are on other Labour Brexiteers to see whether they will follow him out of the party.

Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson said Field's resignation was "a major wake up call".

Field, who now serves as chairman of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, wrote to Brown this week to claim the party was guilty of tolerating "thuggish" behaviour by some of its members.

He was also applauded by some Conservative MPs, with Home Secretary Sajid Javid tweeting that he was "a man of integrity and principle".

Responding to claims by Labour MP Chris Williamson that he had made "grotesque slurs with no basis in reality" about bullying within his constituency Labour Party that had been "previously resolved", Mr Field was scathing.

One Labour source dismissed the resignation's significance, telling The Guardian newspaper that "Frank has been looking for an excuse to resign for some time" and cited a grievance in his local party as the cause.

Mr Corbyn also stressed that people who hold anti-Semitic views "have no place in the Labour Party" and said people who use "anti-Semitic poison" are not his supporters, nor do they speak for him or the party.

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