The seven MPs who quit the Labour party earlier today will struggle politically according to a politics expert from Kingston University.

Dr Robin Pettitt, a senior lecturer in comparative politics at Kingston University, said that the British political system had regularly scuppered the hopes of previous breakaway parties.

Dr Pettitt said: "The British political system is very unforgiving of new parties.

"Anyone who splits with one party to form something new is unlikely to win. You have to wonder what they are hoping to achieve – short term, this could well weaken the prospect of a second referendum and long term, there simply isn’t room in our current electoral system for small parties. We saw this with the SDP, the Liberal Democrats and UKIP in 2015."

On Monday morning (February 18) seven former Labour MPs (Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Angela Smith, Ann Coffey, Chris Leslie, Mike Gapes and Gavin Shuker) officially resigned the Labour whip under the title of The Independent Group.

The group did not release firm policy proposals following the split, though they are seen as ideologically similar. They were widely considered to be on the 'centrist' right of the Labour party before the move, and have individually spoken out against Brexit and the recent allegations of anti-Semitism levelled at Labour.

Dr Pettitt suggested that the group would struggle to advance their anti-Brexit agenda by lacking the political clout of other collectives of MPs in Parliament lobbying on Brexit policy — notably the influential right-wing European Research Group (ERG) of pro-Brexit Conservatives MPs.

Dr Pettitt said: "From what you hear, pro-remain Labour MPs who back a second vote have been trying to persuade them not to leave because of the damage it would do. Labour MPs who support a second referendum would now be seen to be supporting a group who have quit the party and that’s obviously tricky. The People’s Vote campaigners have to distance themselves too if they are to win over the Labour front bench.

"Arguably, these seven MPs have weakened the prospect of what they have been saying they want to get."

The university lecturer added that the split would damage Labour but might also be advantages to Labour Party and Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn:

"Corbyn has now seen seven key critics leave and this will probably strengthen his hold on the Labour Party. If a Labour MP criticises Corbyn now on the same grounds as these people, they will be tarred with the betrayal brush," Dr Pettitt said.

The Independent Group met a stern backlash from Labour following their announcement Monday.

One of the group, Angela Smith MP, faced allegations of racism when she referred to BAME people as having a "funny tinge" to their complexion during a BBC round-table broadcast in proximity with the resignations.