Progress chair Alison McGovern responds to the announcement of seven Labour MPs that they are resigning their membership of the party.
I am saddened to see any colleague say they’re leaving the Labour Party, and I appreciate that this was not an easy decision. As a party we should reflect on why they have taken this action and ensure that the debate that follows is respectful.
Some of the personal experiences that have led colleagues to quit are a source of great pain given our values, and as campaigners against racism and antisemitism.
So whilst I may fundamentally disagree with their conclusion that leaving the debate within the Labour Party is the way to win the argument, I won’t be falling out with them personally.
I still believe the best future for this country is a Labour government so that we can tackle so many of the issues that caused Britain to vote for Brexit in the first place. That’s why Progress will continue to work to make the Labour party the best version of itself it can be. That means being a pro-European party, campaigning for social justice at home and abroad, rejecting the siren voices of nostalgia and populism that have led us to this point.
I will continue to argue for a Labour party that can deliver on its founding principle: to provide a voice in parliament for those who do not have one and to deliver meaningful change in their lives by winning elections and being in government. The list of things that still need changing in this country is long and there is no time to waste.
From the poverty pay in social care that must end, to re-opening the libraries lost to Tory austerity, and beating down the barriers that still exist to equal representation for women in every place of power, to name just a few.
Britain needs our voice to secure a place for everyone in our new economy and to make the case for equality and openness at a time when it is unpopular to do so.
The Labour party has always been a coalition of social democrats and democratic socialists, valuing our different traditions whether that be the trade unions, cooperators, Fabians or councillors and activists who have sustained our party in the country for more than a hundred years.
It’s vital that we recognise that Labour has always been at its best when it has been a broad church.
Progress will continue to argue for members to stay in the party – a task that is obviously made harder by some of the abuse and intolerance that has been shown towards so many who simply want to debate ideas and stand up for basic values such as our internationalism and our abhorrence of antisemitism and racism.
We will continue to do that within in the Labour party. We look forward to continuing to work with all those who want to see our party win a general election and deliver radical change in this country.
Alison McGovern MP is the member of parliament for Wirral South and chair of Progress
Progressive centre-ground Labour politics does not come for free.
Our work depends on you.