Frank Field resigns Labour whip amid anti-semitism row

Labour Party protest

Field said in a letter to his constituents that it was with "considerable sadness" that he had chose to resign because he could not "lend any legitimacy to the most appalling culture".

He said: "I said that I wish to remain a member of the Labour party". "The chief whip said that I can not remain after two weeks of resigning the Labour whip a member of the Labour party. The first was Jared O'Mara in Sheffield, so that should be the first by-election and that would be a very interesting test".

I am resigning the whip for two principal reasons.

"One thing that the Labour leader could do today is he could announce that all the Jewish MPs are re-standing automatically as Labour candidates at the next election, that would shut up some of the extremists".

He has once before fought off an attempt by the hard-left in Birkenhead to have him deselected from his seat, and is now facing another attempt by the Momentum faction loyal to Mr Corbyn in the party.

In a letter to his constituents in the Liverpool Echo, Mr Field said he had resigned with "considerable sadness", but said he could not "lend any legitimacy to the most appalling culture".

Mr Field is set to hold talks with Mr Brown on Friday in Westminster to discuss his options after resigning the whip.

Field, who has represented Birkenhead for nearly 40 years, said in a letter to party chief whip Nick Brown that he could no longer serve the party as the leadership was overseeing an "erosion of our core values".

The rebel MP said he will now serve as an independent as he does not want to be seen as part of a "racist" party.

One of the local branch secretaries also said Field "refuses" to attend party meetings.

"The indications are that others may now follow where Frank Field has led". In July, Labour members in Birkenhead constituency Labour party (CLP) passed a motion of no confidence in Field and called for the immediate withdrawal of the Labour whip.

The party's deputy leader, Tom Watson, said his decision was a "serious loss" that "reflects both the deep divisions in the party and the sense of drift engulfing us".

MP Chris Williamson denounced his colleague's comments as "grotesque slurs, which have no basis in reality". "Parliament needs more Frank Field".

However, the WPC chairman declared his intent to continue to represent Birkenhead in Westminster, as he has "had the honour to do so for nearly 40 years, and I will do so as an independent Labour member".

Claims of antisemitism have dogged Jeremy Corbyn since he became Labour leader in 2015, due to his life-long support for the Palestinian cause, which some say has involved supporting terrorists and antisemites.

An investigation by former Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti was criticised for being too soft in its conclusion that the party had "an occasionally toxic atmosphere".

Recently, the focus has been on a new code of conduct the party has adopted on anti-Semitism, with critics concerned that it does not go as far as the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's guidelines.