A Veteran British lawmaker quit the Labour Party grouping in Parliament Thursday, saying the opposition party had become a “force for anti-Semitism.”
Frank Field quit with a letter to the party’s chief whip accusing the leadership of the left-of-center party of overseeing an “erosion of our core values.”
“Britain fought the Second World War to banish these views from our politics, but that superhuman effort and success is now under huge and sustained internal attack,” he wrote.
Field also complained of “bullying and intimidation” in his local branch of the party.
Allegations of anti-Jewish prejudice within Labour have grown since veteran socialist Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader in 2015. Some in the party allege that Corbyn, a longtime critic of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, has allowed anti-Semitic abuse to go unchecked.
The issue has split the party, with some Corbyn supporters accusing opponents and right-wing media outlets of misrepresenting the leader’s views.
Field, 76, has sat in Parliament since 1979 and served as a minister in then Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government, but has found himself at odds with Corbyn and his left-wing supporters. His support for Brexit has also put him at odds with many Labour colleagues.
Field said he plans to remain in Parliament as an independent.
Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson said Field’s resignation was “a major wake up call. We cannot afford to lose people of such weight and stature.”