Labour MPs have been seeing therapists to help cope with stress and anxiety

Up to 12 moderates are poised to walk out and form a new alliance with the Lib Dems and a few fed-up Tories.

But some are suffering bouts of anxiety and guilt at leaving the party they have served for years.

Others are troubled by the abuse they expect to receive from angry Corbynistas.

A team of stress counsellors is being funded by donors backing the fledgling new party.

One defector said: “We’re all going through different stages of grief on our journey to accepting that it’s time to part company with Labour.

“Some are still in denial and others are quite depressed, while I’m feeling angry. These sessions are useful in helping us come to terms with what we are doing.”

Talks have been taking place in Westminster for weeks about forming a new breakaway centre party.

Many are angered by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to tackle anti-Semitism in the party, others by his refusal to back a second Brexit referendum.

Liverpool Wavertree MP Luiciana Berger – plagued by anti-Semitic abuse and an attempt to de-select her – has been pondering her future.

A High Noon vote on Brexit next week could prove a moment for MPs such as Chuka Umunna, Angela Smith, Gavin Shuker and Ann Coffey to move.

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