Luciana Berger announces Labour MPs quitting to form Independent Group
Luciana Berger is back in the Labour Party thanks to leader Keir Starmer dealing with its antisemitism problem.
The former Liverpool Wavertree MP accepted an apology from the leader after leaving the party in 2019 when Jeremy Corbyn led it.
She said the party had "fallen into the depths of the abyss under Corbyn's reign" but said it had now "turned a significant corner" under Starmer's leadership.
She added: "I'm pleased to be returning to my political home."
Berger formed the cringe Independent Group with several other Labour and Conservative MPs when she left her party, saying there had been a "sea of cases" of antisemitism and that complaints had been brushed under the carpet.
She later joined the Liberal Democrats and was chosen to contest the seat of Finchley and Golders Green, but failed to win the vote.
Meanwhile, the human rights watchdog, the Equality and Human Rights Commission in 2020, found that Labour broke equality law over its handling of antisemitism complaints, and rather than accept the findings and apologise, Corbyn claimed the issue had been "dramatically overstated" by critics - a position he has not wavered from despite it triggering his suspension from the party.
In his letter calling on Berger to return, Starmer wrote: "I never expected to bear witness to the volume and toxicity of anti-Jewish racism espoused by people who had been allowed to join Labour, and to experience a leadership that treated antisemitism within the party's ranks differently to every other kind of racism - and that by refusing to condemn it, encouraged it.
"But that is exactly what happened."
He added Berger had been "forced out by intimidation, thuggery and racism" and had made a "brave move" - albeit one she "should never have been forced to take".
"That day will forever be a stain on Labour's history," he added.
After Berger agreed to return, and Starmer posted their letter exchanges on Twitter, Labour figures and others welcomed her back with open arms:
\u201cI am personally thrilled to see @lucianaberger rejoin @UKLabour \n\nUnder @Keir_Starmer Labour has risen from the depths of depravity. The Party must never allow itself to become a hostile place for Jewish people again.\u201d
— Christian Wakeford MP (@Christian Wakeford MP)
\u201cThis is an important moment for Keir Starmer & the changes he has brought about in #Labour I never felt @lucianaberger had \u201cleft\u201d Labour but that she had been driven out. I always thought she was hugely courageous in the face of appalling antisemitism & abuse. I wish her well.\u201d
\u201cWonderful news that Luciana Berger has rejoined Labour.\n\nIt\u2019s heartbreaking that she was forced out of the party by horrific antisemitism. But it\u2019s a wonderful sign of change and progress that @lucianaberger has returned.\u201d
\u201cWe are sorry that we left you. You never left us. \n\nYou were forced out of the Labour Party, but under Keir Starmer\u2019s leadership you will feel at home once again.\n\nWelcome back @lucianaberger.\u201d
— Labour North West (@Labour North West)
\u201cThe Labour Party has turned a significant corner under Keir\u2019s leadership. I\u2019m pleased to be returning to my political home. \n\n@UKLabour\u201d
\u201cAn emotional and healing moment.\n\nThe Labour Party and Luciana\u2026friends finally reunited.\n\nI\u2019m grateful to @Keir_Starmer for making this possible, and in awe of @lucianaberger\u2019s strength and compassion for giving us this precious second chance.\n\nLabour has changed for the better.\u201d