More MPs to quit as political parties crumble

New order: The Independent Group posed for a selfie as they took their seats for the first time since defecting.

Theresa May’s cabinet is in open rebellion. Labour and Tory MPs alike have fled their parties for the Independent Group, and up to 20 more could be preparing to quit. What is going on?

The UK’s political parties are falling apart.

Last week, eight Labour and three Conservative MPs shocked everyone when they broke away from their parties to form the Independent Group (TIG). A further 20 MPs are said to be on the brink of quitting.

Now, Theresa May’s cabinet is in open rebellion against her. On Saturday, three ministers including former Home Secretary Amber Rudd said they will disobey May and vote to extend Article 50 this week if a deal with the European Union is not passed very soon.

However, as May flew to an EU summit in Sharm el-Sheik yesterday, she said that MPs will not get to vote on her Brexit deal this week. Instead on Tuesday, with just 31 days until Britain leaves the EU, she will once again ask MPs for more time.

And Labour is not faring any better. Yesterday, the party’s deputy leader Tom Watson said there is “a crisis for the soul of the Labour party” over anti-Semitism and Brexit. He urged Corbyn to take urgent action to hold Labour together.

According to a new survey by Hope Not Hate, almost 70% of Britons think that none of the main political parties speak for them.

Could TIG offer something different?

Founding member Chuka Umunna claims the group’s creation is the first step towards “leaving the old tribal politics behind”.

Is this the future of politics? Do we still need political parties?

Break the system

The struggle between left and right, and remain and leave, within the two main parties shows that the nation’s politics no longer fits into these old-fashioned boxes. Does the system need to change? Do parties divide us? Is there another way?

But don’t we have parties for a reason? Without them, Parliament would be a mess of conflicting opinion. We might be even more stuck than we are now with Brexit.

You Decide

  1. Are political parties too tribal?

Activities

  1. What words or phrases do you associate with “politicians”? As a class, come up with as many as you can. Are they mostly positive or negative? What does this tell you about how politics is widely viewed?

Some People Say...

“Anyone that belongs to a party stops thinking.”

Ray Bradbury

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
The first MPs to resign and form the Independent Group last Monday were Labour’s Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Gavin Shuker, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie, Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey.
What do we not know?
What the consequences of TIG will be. So far, it has helped to encourage anti-Brexit views within both Labour and the Conservatives, as seen in the Cabinet rebellion.

Word Watch

Amber Rudd
Rudd is now Work and Pensions Minister.
Article 50
The mechanism that the UK uses to leave the EU. If it is extended, Brexit will be delayed.
Anti-Semitism
Racism against Jewish people. Corbyn has been widely criticised for failing to crack down on anti-Semitism within the party.

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