BURY North MP James Frith has said he is "saddened" by the resignations of seven Labour MPs announced yesterday.

In a statement published on Facebook Mr Frith described his former colleagues as "talented people", but said he believed that resignation was the "wrong conclusion"­— particularly in the face of a potential no-deal Brexit.

He also called on Labour Party members and supporters to pull together, adding that "Remaining is key".

Mr Frith's comments follow the announcement that a splinter group of Labour Party MPs from across the UK intend to leave the party.

The group comprises Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger, Stockport MP Ann Coffey, Ilford South MP Mike Gapes, Nottingham East MP Chris Leslie, Penistone and Stocksbridge MP Angela Smith, Luton South MP Gavin Shuker, and Streatham MP Chuka Umunna.

The seven have since further declared their intention to form the so-called "Independent Group" in Parliament.

In his statement Mr Frith said: “I’m saddened by the news but think it’s the wrong conclusion by talented people at a troubling time for the UK as we face the damaging prospect of a no-deal Brexit.

“Its time to listen and learn as a movement, inside and outside of our membership.

"We can’t ignore the powerful testimony from victims of hate and racist attacks. Nor can we allow our quarrel to deny the bid for the transformative change our country needs.

“I believe in the essence of the Labour Party; that we are stronger together. And that we achieve more together than we can do apart. Remaining is key.”

Mr Frith's comments contrast with those made by Bury South MP Ivan Lewis, who yesterday said that he "admires and respects" the 'courageous' decision of the resigning MPs.

Mr Lewis, who himself resigned from the Labour Party in December, having been suspended by Labour over claims of sexual harassment, described the MPs' decision as "gut wrenching".

He also hit out at alleged anti-Semitism within Labour, saying that it is not the party they or he joined, and pledged to work with the MPs to "build a socially just society".