The resignation of seven Labour MPs this morning is a "gift for the Tories", Labour frontbencher Dawn Butler told talkRADIO today.
Speaking to Matthew Wright, Ms Butler said she was sad and disappointed her colleagues had left, and worried the split could benefit the government.
Ms Butler said: “I don’t want this to happen, I don’t want anyone to leave the party, I don’t want MPs to feel that they have to leave, I want us to be able to fight it out.
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“I don’t want to give a gift to the Tories. They’re falling apart, they’re responsible for the mess we’re in so why do we have to give them this gift? Why do we always do this to ourselves?".
She added: “I don’t think people will look on us kindly, because at at time when the country is split over the Brexit debacle, we decide to have this internal fight.”
Ms Butler defended Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit stance, and criticised the calls for a People’s Vote put forward by Chuka Umunna.
“Jeremy put a motion to Parliament and part of that motion was to call for a People’s Vote. It got voted down in Parliament, there’s not enough support for it,” she said.
“There was nothing to stop Chuka and the others from putting forward their own motion in Parliament calling for whatever it is they wanted but they hadn’t done that.”
'Resolving antisemitism takes time'
Luciana Berger speaking this morning. Image: Leon Neal/Getty Images
Responding to Luciana Berger’s claims that the party had not adequately dealt with antisemitism, Ms Butler said general secretary Jenny Formby had worked hard to find a solution, including doubling the number of people overseeing the disciplinary process.
She said: “Luciana Berger has had horrendous attacks and threats and I can understand what she has been going through, but Jenny Formby has been working very hard to ensure there’s no Labour members involved in those attacks against Luciana.
“Nobody has done as much as Jenny has since she’s become general secretary. Things take time, and within the seven months she’s been in post she’s changed the process so much, and she’s trying her best.
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"We have to remember however that it's only 0.01 per cent of Labour Party members who are anti-semitic. That's 0.01 per cent too many, but it's still only 0.01 per cent."
Ms Butler said she hoped MPs could now establish a way to move forward from the present disagreements.
“We’re like a dysfunctional family, but nonetheless we’re a family,” she added.