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Despite Labour split, focus must remain on Brexit

While the deep divisions in the Conservative Party have been all too evident, it is the Labour Party that has suffered a split with seven MPs resigning yesterday.

Rumours that some disaffected elected representatives were on the verge of leaving have been swirling for some time and there will be little surprise at those who have decided to part company with the party.

It is clear this was not an easy decision for those concerned, who have variously cited dismay at Jeremy Corbyn's leadership on Brexit, the dominance of the hard left and the failure to address anti-Semitism in the party.

In particular, Luciana Berger, who has been the subject of appalling abuse and intimidation, requiring personal protection at last year's party conference, said Labour had become 'institutionally anti-Semitic'.

Only time will tell if this split will generate further resignations or simply fizzle out.

Many people will recall the formation of the SDP in the 1980s, which involved major Labour figures and eventually resulted in a merger with the Liberal Party to form the Liberal Democrats.

There is no doubt that many serious, moderate and experienced Labour MPs are profoundly uneasy with Jeremy Corbyn's leadership but the signs are they will stay in the party rather than leave.

Whether people agree or disagree with the Labour leader, the fact is that he has failed to present himself as a viable alternative to the prime minister at a time when the government is in complete disarray over Brexit.

At this stage in the process, with Theresa May struggling to gain support for her withdrawal agreement and a no deal a real possibility, Mr Corbyn's poll ratings should be soaring.

However, his performance throughout this crisis has been unconvincing, his failure to send out a clear message disappointing.

Mrs May and her supporters might well enjoy the Labour Party's discomfiture but the political focus at this time must remain on Brexit, ensuring there is no hard border and avoiding a no deal.

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