Labour MP Luciana Berger faces no confidence vote

A Labour MP is facing a vote of no confidence from local party members who accuse her of “continuously criticising” Jeremy Corbyn.

Luciana Berger has spoken out over the party’s handling of anti-Semitism and its stance on Brexit.

She has been backed by former Labour leader Ed Miliband.

But shadow chancellor John McDonnell said she should reject claims she supported a “breakaway party” to show members she was “sticking with Labour”.

Ms Berger said she would be not be “distracted from fighting for the interests of my constituents”.

An extraordinary meeting has been called in the Liverpool Wavertree constituency next week to discuss two no confidence motions.

Such votes carry no official force within the Labour Party but local activists could hold a “trigger ballot”, where sitting Labour MPs can be forced to compete for selection as a candidate against all-comers, ahead of the next general election.

Ms Berger has been the target of online abuse and had a police escort at last year’s Labour Party conference following death threats.

Earlier this week, she joined other MPs at a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party calling for details on the party’s efforts to tackle anti-Semitism to be released.

In a statement, Ms Berger said she believed her constituents would judge her on her record and skills in representing them in Parliament.

She reiterated her “long held view that Brexit will be a disaster for the people of Liverpool Wavertree and the wider country”, saying she would “not shy away from standing up” for her Remain-voting constituency.

And she said she had made “no secret that, as a Jewish woman representing a city with a Jewish community, I have been deeply disturbed by the lack of response from Jeremy Corbyn as party leader and many in the wider leadership of the party to the anti-Semitism that stains our party”.

Ms Berger added: “Nothing will deter me from exposing anti-Semitism wherever it festers, including in the Labour Party where it is being wilfully ignored.”

‘Further relentless abuse’

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband tweeted that “she should be supported not undermined by everyone throughout our party”, while prominent backbencher Yvette Cooper praised Ms Berger’s campaigning and said she had her “solidarity”.

Her colleague Jess Phillips also tweeted, warning that the move “means a night of further relentless abuse, anti-Semitism and violent threats to her and her family”.

However, speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr McDonnell said the motion came about because Ms Berger is “associated” with rumours of a new centrist party being formed.

“[The motion] is an expression of views,” he said.

“If people are doing that because Luciana has stood up against [anti-Semitism] that is completely wrong.

“But from what I have seen on social media, it looks as though what has happened is Luciana has been in the media associated with a breakaway party and hasn’t been clear that she rejects that.”

He condemned a Facebook post from one of the local Labour members calling Ms Berger a “disruptive Zionist”, saying it was “completely wrong”.

But the shadow chancellor said: “My advice to Luciana is just tell people you are not supporting a breakaway party, you are sticking with the Labour Party, you are not jumping ship.

“And my advice to the Labour Party members there is if there are differences of opinion there, get together, talk about it and see how you can support the campaign alongside your local MP.”

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BBC News – UK Politics

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