The resignation of seven MPs from the Labour Party signals a very welcome break with the past.
It clearly took great bravery to leave their political ‘home’ and to stand up to the torrent of abuse. They are quite correct that our political system and our two main parties – riven by bitter internal divisions and captured by their ideological fringes – are incapable of representing the pragmatic diversity of opinion in this great country.
I don’t know whether they could be a new SPD, and I don’t know whether they will succeed in realigning British politics. But I note that their statement of principles reads like a reordered summary of the Liberal Democrat Constitution. The last thing the country needs or the public wants right now is the naval-gazing distraction of a new party or talks about mergers. Perhaps that may be something for the future; perhaps not. Either way, as a Liberal Democrat I look forward to working with them and like-minded MPs in other parties in working to fix the real and urgent problems facing this country, our continent and the planet.
A great many people will be watching this development with interest, wishing that their own MP would stand up and put country before the party line or that the official opposition would actually provide some scrutiny and credible opposition. To those concerned about the drift to the populist-authoritarian left and right, to those who demand better than these two anti-business, anti-immigrant, anti-European parties, I can promise you in Chichester district the Liberal Democrats will make you very welcome.
Jonathan Brown, Liberal Democrat, Parliamentary spokesman for Chichester, Stein Road, Southbourne