MP Mike Gapes is back in the Labour Party – but who is he?
Labour leader Keir Starmer has welcomed MP Mike Gapes back into the Labour Party after he sensationally quit under Jeremy Corbyn.
Mr Starmer said he was “delighted” to welcome Mr Gapes back and was looking forward to working with him again.
Who is Mike Gapes?
Michael Gapes is a former politician who served as MP for Ilford South from 1992 to 2019. He was also the former chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee.
Why did he leave the party and where did he go?
He quit the party in 2019, saying he could not serve under Mr Corbyn due to the party’s ongoing struggles with antisemitism, reportedly saying the party was “a horrible place to be”.
He then made his own independent party, the Independent Group for Change, and stood against Labour in Ilford South at the election that year.
He previously said: “I was horrified by the state of the party. The traditional Labour values I have always held dear — of social justice, security and internationalism — had been forgotten, replaced by a purity cult that would soon enough prove itself to be repellent to the British public.”
Why is he back?
Mr Gapes said the party is now under a “new direction” and that he would always serve Labour with the right leader.
Writing in The Times, he said: “I find myself filling in my application form to rejoin. Today, I am more enthusiastic about the party’s future than I have been in years, and I am as determined to see it win, and as excited as I was when I joined first time round as a 16-year-old boy in Chigwell, Essex, 54 years ago.”
The move has been welcomed by Mr Starmer, who has said Gapes’ return is proof that the Labour Party has changed for the better.
He even took to his socials to make his happiness clear.
That Mike has rejoined our party shows how much we've changed our party to face the public, root out antisemitism, support business, be proud of our NATO membership.
I know there is more to do so we can change our country and deliver our missions for a better Britain. https://t.co/ymZeCamE4h
— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) March 7, 2023