Ian Murray criticised after apparent support for Labour breakaway

The Edinburgh South MP has been criticised after Scottish members felt he was unclear on whether he planned to join rebel MPs including Chuka Umunna

Edinburgh Labour members have said Ian Murray should decide soon whether he will follow the breakaway MPs dubbed the "insignificant seven".

The Edinburgh South MP said in a statement that he was sad to lose the talent and expertise of the seven MPs who left the party.

The long-rumoured announcement of the breakaway went far from smoothely on Monday, and critics were quick to point out a host of errors.

Hours after claiming to leave a party they believed was racist, one of the MPs, Angela Smith, was forced issue an apology after comments she made on TV were characterised as racist.

Ian Murray rose to prominence after being the only Scottish Labour MP elected in 2015 under Jim Murphy's short tenure as Scottish leader. 

The centrist MP quit as shadow Scottish secretary amidst the mass of shadow cabinet resignations in 2016 intended to destabilise Corbyn. At the time he claimed the Labour leader couldn't secure a victory for the party, but in the 2017 snap election Murray's majority increased to over 15,000 under Corbyn's leadership.  

In his statements following Monday's breakaway, Murray appeared to suggest he may follow by suggesting more resignations were likely:  "The current Labour leadership is breaking the broad church that this party once built its electoral success upon – a broad church which delivered Labour governments that lifted millions and millions of people out of poverty."

He also ridiculed a "pledge card" which had circulated online, however one local party member said he misunderstood it.

"Ian Murray seems so disconnected from the membership that he misunderstands us. 

"We aren't asking him to pledge loyalty to Jeremy Corbyn, we want him to pledge loyalty to Labour.

"Our MP may be waiting to see which way the political wind blows, but members will expect him to come to our next CLP with clarity or we will start the business of finding our new candidate to fight for Labour."

Another Edinburgh Labour member also tackled Murray's comments, pointing out that the Scottish Labour left was far from blindly loyal to Jeremy Corbyn and often had robust debates about policies on Brexit and issues like freedom of movement. 

However they said: "Make no mistake that the MPs who have resigned today do so out of purely opportunistic reasons, and don't have a shred of principle between them.

"They have never stood for rank-and-file party democracy before and by leaving they are showing utter contempt for it now, by abrogating any accountability to their CLPs.

"Ian Murray is disingenuous to blame Corbyn, who has shown far too much willingness to compromise and reconcile with the Labour right."

Despite the breakaway, many MPs who had been critical of Corbyn rallied around the party yesterday and appeared confused by their colleagues decisions.

Labour members and MPs alike were also left dismayed at the breakaway MPs decision not to call a by-election in their parliamentary seats after resigning the Labour whip they were elected under.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell called on the group of seven to do the "honorable thing" and give voters the chance to have their say. 

Although rumours are still circulating in Westminster it is unknown if any more MPs will join the so-called "Independent Group". 

The Red Robin contacted Ian Murray for a response but had not recieved a response by the time of publication. 

Image: Policy Exhange

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