Joan Marie Ryan, MP for Enfield North, has left Labour to join the Independent group.
Ryan is a notable critic of Jeremy Corbyn and in September 2018, her Constituency Labour Party passed a motion of no confidence in her. She is also Chair of Labour Friends of Israel.
Ryan cited antisemitism as her reason for leaving Labour and accussed Jeremy Corbyn of “presiding over a culture of antisemitism and hatred of Israel”.
Ryan, like Chris Leslie, has previously said Labour has been taken over by the far left calling members of her own constituency party ”
Trots, Stalinists, Communists” after
Ryan has not made any statements on whether she wishes to hold a by-election. The 7 other defectors refuse to do so.
7 MPs, Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker, and Anne Coffey, defected to the newly formed Independent Group on Monday.
The Labour rebels have cited a shift in Labour Party leadership towards more left-leaning policies, including the nationalisation of services such as the provision of water. Chris Leslie has said that the Labour Party has been “hijacked” by far-left ideologues.
The group have claimed that the current system of politics is “broken” by “tribal groups” and the aim of the newly formed Party, called the Independent Group, will aim to divert political emphasis away from the left and right stances of the Labour and Conservative Party respectively.
This has led to commentators to refer to the party as a new “Centrist Party” that was speculated in the months prior to the announcement and it is currently unknown how the Party will be governed or organised.
In a statement released after a press conference with the 7 newly independent MPs, Jeremy Corbyn has condemned the split and has remarked that he is “disappointed” with the decisions of the 7 back-benchers in the face of a sitting Government that is “bungling Brexit”.
Joan Ryan had lost a vote of no confidence vote tabled by her local party. The no-confidence vote is similar to those faced by MPs Hoey and Field, seeking the removal of the whip from Ryan and an open selection process to select their Parliamentary candidate before the next election. It is unclear if this motion would bar her from standing in the open selection for North Enfield’s Parliamentary candidate.
Ryan drew criticism for her public attacks on Corbyn during Labour’s antisemitism scandal, falsely accusing another Labour member of antisemitism and for statements of support towards Theresa May prior to the 2017 General election.