Umunna: 'I Got Death Threats from Corbyn Supporters for Defying Leader over Brexit'

By Gourtsoyannis, Paris | The Scotsman, January 2, 2018 | Go to article overview

Umunna: 'I Got Death Threats from Corbyn Supporters for Defying Leader over Brexit'


Gourtsoyannis, Paris, The Scotsman


One of the leading opponents of Brexit on the Labour benches at Westminster has revealed he has received death threats from supporters of Jeremy Corbyn for opposing the party leadership.

Chuka Umunna, the MP for Streatham in London and a former leadership contender, said he had reported the threat to police - and said that other Labour colleagues had received the same treatment.

Mr Umunna laid bare the tensions within Labour over Europe, saying he was subjected to a four-letter verbal attack from another Labour MP after breaking the party whip.

In September, he pressed ahead with an amendment to the Queen's Speech that would have required the government to keep the UK in the European single market. Fifty Labour MPs joined Mr Umunna in defying the party whip on the single market, and three frontbenchers lost their jobs.

Speaking to the Brexit Breakdown podcast from the UK in a Changing Europe research programme, Mr Umunna said critics of Mr Corbyn and pro-EU MPs generally worried about their safety following the murder of MP Jo Cox.

Mr Umunna, who resigned from Mr Corbyn's shadow cabinet in 2015 over the leader's euroscepticism, said: "There are a lot of people, I am one of them - I don't really care about the impact of my decision or my position on Brexit on my future position in the Labour Party. This just comes before everything."

He added: "It's a bit bizarre. I'm not naturally a rebel. It's often quite unpleasant. When I did what I did on the Queen's Speech, one colleague called me a 'f***ing w***er' to my face.

"It put him [Mr Corbyn] in a difficult situation, but frankly, I don't think I should not do things because it puts someone in a difficult position if it's a terrible thing for my constituency and the people I represent. …

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