A Sheffield MP has left the Labour Party, and will sit as part of a new Independent Group in the House of Commons, along with ten others.
Angela Smith, who has been the MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge since 2010 and represented Sheffield Hillsborough for half a decade before that, announced on Monday 18 February that she had left the Labour Party.
She felt the party had failed to to properly deal with its problems regarding antisemitism, and called it ‘unfit for government’.
Smith joined six other Labour MPs from around the country on stage, and within two days four more MPs (including three from the Conservatives) left to sit as part of The Independent Group.
Within hours of the group’s formation, however, Smith was caught in a racism row for describing BAME people as being of a “funny tinge” on the BBC’s Politics Live programme.
“Smith’s comments have no place in our party and clearly neither does she”
Sheffield Labour Students said they were “not sorry” sorry to see the initial seven MPs leave, in a statement on their Facebook page.
The post read: “[Smith’s] non-apology was not good enough, despite saying she misspoke, the idea of anybody being ‘funnily tinged’ is abhorrent and we do not support it. Smith’s comments have no place in our party and clearly neither does she.”
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Smith is one of several in the group to face calls to resign their parliamentary seats and face a by-election, due to the voters choosing a Labour candidate in the 2017 general election.
She has a majority of 1,322 (2.6%) after the 2017 poll.
The other Labour MPs who began the group with Smith are Chuka Umunna (Streatham), Luciana Berger (Liverpool Wavertree), Chris Leslie (Nottingham East), Ann Coffey (Stockport), Mike Gapes (Ilford South) and Gavin Shuker (Luton South).
They were later joined by Joan Ryan, the Labour MP for Enfield North and three Conservative MPs, including Anna Soubry and Heidi Allen.