A “small number” of Labour MPs who signed a statement which criticised Nato have withdrawn their names, the party has confirmed.

Some 11 Labour MPs had signed the statement issued by the Stop The War Coalition over the situation in Ukraine.

But after being threatened with the removal of the whip, all names were withdrawn, with a party spokesperson saying the move showed Labour was “under new management” with Sir Keir Starmer.

Russian invasion of Ukraine
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer holds a shadow cabinet meeting following the Russian invasion of Ukraine (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Stop The War, which was initially launched to oppose US military action in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, says it stands against what it describes as Britain’s “disastrous addiction to war”.

But it has repeatedly come under fire for alleged anti-Western sentiments.

In the statement issued earlier this month on Ukraine, the group accused the British Government of “aggressive posturing” and that Nato “should call a halt to its eastward expansion”.

The statement was signed by Diane Abbott, John McDonnell, Richard Burgon, Ian Lavery, Beth Winter, Zarah Sultana, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Apsana Begum, Mick Whitley, Tahir Ali, and Ian Mearns.

Former Labour leader and former chairman of the coalition Jeremy Corbyn also signed the letter, as did MP Claudia Webbe, both of whom now sit as independents.

Around an hour after it being reported, the shadow chief whip had written to the 11 MPs, and all their names had been withdrawn from the statement.

Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn joins a demonstration in Parliament Square (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

A Labour spokesperson said: “The small number of Labour MPs that signed the Stop The War statement have all now withdrawn their names.

“This shows Labour is under new management.

“With Keir Starmer’s leadership there will never be any confusion about whose side Labour is on – Britain, Nato, freedom and democracy – and every Labour MP now understands that.”

The PA news agency understands they were threatened with the removal of the whip if their names were not taken off the letter.

Earlier this month, Sir Keir wrote in the Guardian that Stop The War activists were not “benign voices for peace”.

“At best they are naive, at worst they actively give succour to authoritarian leaders who directly threaten democracies. There is nothing progressive in showing solidarity with the aggressor when our allies need our solidarity and – crucially – our practical assistance now more than ever,” he said.

Andrew Scattergood, co-chairman of left-wing campaign group Momentum, said: “These MPs’ steadfast commitment to the Ukrainian people and against Russia’s invasion is beyond question. Indeed, many of them have led the criticism of Putin’s act of aggression today, forcefully and without reservation.

“It beggars belief that the Labour leadership instead focuses on a week-old statement in an attempt to wage factional warfare against them, while a real war wages on against the Ukrainian people.”