Umunna tells Corbyn: 'Call off the dogs' and end purge

Labour backbencher Chuka Umunna has accused leader Jeremy Corbyn of driving centre-left MPs out of the party, urging him to "call off the dogs".
The pro-EU campaigner claimed "moderates" in the party were being targeted by more hardline factions and faced a "clear and present danger" of being forced out.He also called on the Labour Party to "wholeheartedly" back the People's Vote on Brexit.But shadow chancellor John McDonnell has responded by denying there was any planned campaign, saying it was an "invented story".Speaking to Sky News, he said: "Referring to our party members as dogs is just unacceptable."There's no dogs being hounded… it's an appalling expression to be used about Labour Party members. There is no planned campaign whatsoever. This is individual party members expressing their views - it's called 'democracy'."
Umunna tells Corbyn: 'Call off the dogs' and end purge

Jeremy Corbyn is being urged to stop the purge by hardline factions
It comes as several Labour MPs who have been critical of Mr Corbyn, particularly over his handling of the anti-Semitism row, have found themselves locked in battles with members of their constituency Labour Party.Labour Friends of Israel chairwoman Joan Ryan, a former minister under Tony Blair, and Luton South MP Gavin Shuker both lost local no confidence votes on Thursday.In a speech to the centre-left group Progress, Mr Umunna said: "More motions such as this are expected by colleagues."My message to our leadership: it is within your power to stop this so call off the dogs and get on with what my constituency, one of the most diverse communities in the nation, demands we do - without equivocation, fight this Tory Brexit. That is where all our efforts should be.":: Fury after Iranian TV films secret Labour meetingMr Umunna also called on the leadership to stop using internal divisions as an excuse not to fight Brexit.He warned the Labour leadership it would be a "complete betrayal" of the party's values to "act as a bystander and wave through this disastrous Brexit" and called for it to back a referendum on the final deal.
Umunna tells Corbyn: 'Call off the dogs' and end purge

McDonnell urges Umunna to 'stop inventing stories'
"It is simply not good enough to adopt a position which refuses to make the case for a people's vote on the deal and at the same time leave it on the table as an option in the event of impasse in the House of Commons," he said.
"That is simply constructive ambiguity continued, which needs to be junked."Let's dump the prevarication, stop using internal factional reasons as an excuse to avoid it, and back a people's vote wholeheartedly now."Mr Umunna said Brexit was a "project of the elite, for the elite" and that the handling of it so far had been an "utter shambles".He added: "It is a privileged few who are the ones pushing hardest for a hard or no-deal Brexit."Mr McDonnell added his frustration with Mr Umunna for raising bullying issues, saying Mr Corbyn had done more to ensure accusations and complaints were investigated and dealt with.He said Mr Corbyn was the "strongest leader we've had in decades", adding: "Look at what he did in the last general election, we had the best result since the Second World War."I think with another two weeks campaigning we would be in government now."We should get behind the party and stop inventing stories."Sky News political correspondent Lewis Goodall said Mr Umunna's message to his party's leadership would not "dampen down" speculation about the future of party "moderates".He said: "The interesting thing is how strident he is in his message to the Labour Party leadership, to Jeremy Corbyn, using that phrase - 'call off the dogs'."It's not going to do anything whatsoever to dampen down the tensions, nor dampen down the speculation about his future and the future of his ilk of MPs who could potentially leave the party, forming a new grouping."
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Goodall said it was "very telling" that the bulk of his speech covered Brexit and said if it was not for the issue, Mr Umunna would be more inclined to leave the party.He said the politician was better able to influence the UK's exit from the EU as part of Labour rather than from an "irrelevant" third or fourth political group.
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