ANGELA Smith resigned from the Labour party to join the Liberal Democrats, calling them “the strongest party to stop Brexit”.
The MP for Penistone and Stockbridge became the third MP to join the party in a week, after Luciana Berger and Philip Lee defected. Here’s everything you need to know.
Who is Angela Smith?
Angela Smith was the Labour MP for Penistone and Stockbridge since 2010, previously MP for Sheffield Hillsborough from 2005-2010.
Smith was promoted to the frontbench as the Shadow Deputy Leader of the House in October 2010.
As the vice-president of the League Against Cruel Sports, she led a campaign against badger culling in 2013.
In Parliament, she is a member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, and is a former member of the Administration Committee, the Procedure Committee, the Regulatory Reform Committee and Transport Committee.
Why did she join the Liberal Democrats?
In an official statement, Smith said: “Over the past few years, I have been on a political journey triggered by an increasing sense of disenchantment with the Labour Party.
“It appeared to me that Labour, a party which I had effectively been born into and supported all my life, was increasingly distancing itself from the national interest by putting its own priorities first.
“This process intensified after the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader.
“What we have now is a Labour Party dominated by extremists, promoting Marxist policies and supporting an oppressive, unpleasant culture which attempts to bully members unhappy with this state of affairs out of the party.
“I left Labour because it has become an intolerant, narrow sect, driven by ideology and utterly contemptuous of those who look to compromise and consensus as to the basis of good politics.
“We need a more inclusive, tolerant politics for our country that values diversity.
“The Liberal Democrats are the strongest party to stop Brexit and build a society that gives opportunities to everyone, tackles the climate crisis and invests in our public.
“I am relishing continuing my work with the Liberal Democrats to not only fight against Brexit but to also campaign for the constitutional reform needed to mend our broken politics.”
When did she join the Independent Group?
She resigned from the Labour Party on February 18, 2019, and joined The Independent Group.
On February 18, 2019, seven Labour MPs stepped down to form a new independent party called The Independent Group.
As well as Angela, these were Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna, Mike Gapes, Ann Coffey, Chris Leslie, and Gavin Shuker
Angela Smith said it was incumbent on everyone to acknowledge the problem with anti-Semitism in the Labour party.
She said it was one of the major reasons for her departure.
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Smith says she is from a Labour-supporting, working-class family who were ambitious for her.
“Most people are like my family. They do not want to be patronised by leftwing intellectuals who think that being poor and working-class is a state of grace.”
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