Frank Field has told talkRADIO he will stand as an independent candidate at the next election after resigning from the Labour Whip.
Field, who has been a member of the Labour party for 60 years, announced his resignation on Thursday after describing the party as a “force for antisemitism”.
The MP, who has represented Birkenhead for almost 40 years, told Julia Hartley-Brewer that the Labour party needs to have a code of conduct which the “rest of the civilised world adopts”.
“Over the summer we’ve been engulfed in this row of antisemitism, and I think it was brought to a head by the previous Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks who I think went over the top in the remarks that he made, but it convinced me that it is not.
“We can’t keep going to the Jewish community saying that ‘you’re wrong’ in the way that you’ve perceived us. We’re not a party that harbours antisemites but they think we are and we need to act on that, and have a code of conduct which the rest of the civilised world adopts to stamp that out.
“Secondly, that intolerance was certainly shown in my local party. Over 18 months I’ve been trying by submitting evidence of bullying or harassment and so on, to get people expelled as they're not worthy to be members of the Labour Party and I have never heard anything since from those complaints, so it’s the two things together.”
While Field has resigned from his position from the Labour Whip, he’s not given up his party membership and will still vote along the Labour “lines” within the Commons.
“I’ve been a member of the Labour party longer than Jeremy probably - 60 years.
“I don’t see why I should have to surrender my membership; I have Labour interests at heart and I shall continue to vote along those lines in the Commons, but sitting as an independent Labour member.”
- As Frank Field resigns, who are the other Labour MPs concerned about anti-Semitism?
- Jewish Leadership chair: 'Corbyn's Zionist comments belong in 1930s Germany'
Field said he will "fight the seat" in the next election in his Birkenhead constituency "as a Labour candidate or an independent candidate".
There have been calls for Birkenhead to run a by-election in light of his resignation, but Field said he will need “time to think” about his “terrible” decision.
“Well, that [by-election] might happen. It’s a huge move that I’ve made, it’s a terrible move, the idea that I can decide everything in one go is crazy, obviously I’ll be thinking about this over the next weeks and months to think about it.”
Corbyn ‘will lead us into the next election’
Field has been accused of allowing the ‘hard-left’ of the party to bully him out of the party.
“It’s actually far from the truth,” he told Hartley-Brewer.
- Read more: Chris Williamson MP: 'You've been duped by the Daily Mail' about Corbyn
- Read more: Jeremy Corbyn: Are terrorists buried in the Tunisian cemetery, what happened at the Munich Massacre, and who did he lay a wreath for?
“I’m not a part of the political gesture brigade. I’m really hopeful of making some contribution to a success, Jeremy will lead us into the next election.
“It’s crucial, I think, that he leads a party that nobody can make the charge about antisemitism against and that we are a party that is tolerant of debate and differences.
“If we can’t do that in the Labour party, people won’t want a government with those characteristics inflicted on them, so that’s the urgency of the matter.”