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Highgate’s ‘gang of four’ member Bill Rodgers backs seven MPs quitting Labour to form The Independent Group

PUBLISHED: 15:52 18 February 2019 | UPDATED: 09:07 20 February 2019

Lord Bill Rodgers at Lifeline's talk at Burgh House in 2013. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Lord Bill Rodgers at Lifeline's talk at Burgh House in 2013. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Highgate resident and “gang of four” member Lord Bill Rodgers has welcomed seven MPs splitting from the Labour Party, 38 years after he did so.

Labour MP Luciana Berger who has announced her resignation during a press conference at County Hall in Westminster. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA WireLabour MP Luciana Berger who has announced her resignation during a press conference at County Hall in Westminster. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank said he was “much impressed by the courage and strength of the new independent Labour MPs.”

Former Camden council candidate Luciana Berger, along with fellow Labour MPs Chuka Umunna, Chris Leslie, Gavin Shuker, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey walked out on the Labour Party this morning to form their own grouping in Parliament.

In a press conference this morning they raised concerns about anti-semitism within Labour, and the party’s failure to stop Brexit.

They are walking in the footsteps trodden by Lord Rodgers, David Owen, Shirley Williams and Roy Jenkins, who quit Labour in 1981 to form the Social Democratic Party.

Founder members Bill Rodgers and Shirley Williams at the Social Democratic Party's first conference. Picture: PA WireFounder members Bill Rodgers and Shirley Williams at the Social Democratic Party's first conference. Picture: PA Wire

Speaking to the Ham&High, Lord Rodgers said Britain’s impending exit from the European Union made him support their move.

He said: “Given my long political life - I campaigned in the 1945 general election when I was sixteen - Parliament is now in chaos and Brexit would be a disaster. Breaking the stalemate is a modest but welcome step towards sanity.”

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