'Chuka Umunna admitted his Change UK party has “made mistakes”, ahead of its expected European elections setback – as he abandoned its “no pacts” pledge.
The former Labour MP called for a deal with the Liberal Democrats – similar to the SDP-Liberal party alliance at the 1983 and 1987 general elections – where their candidates do not compete against each other.
“I think it would be sensible,” Mr Umunna said. “I personally don’t think we should be competing at a general election.”
The proposal is a U-turn on Change UK’s stance at its confident launch as The Independent Group in February, when it insisted there would be no pact with the other centre-ground party.
In recent weeks, the party has plunged in the polls – threatening to leave it with no MEPs when the EU election results are declared late on Sunday – amid a widening split over strategy.
In a newspaper article, Mr Umunna wrote: “We made some mistakes along the way, despite the incredible efforts of our small staff team, our candidates and our 100,000 supporters, who cannot be faulted.”
Earlier this week, Heidi Allen, Change UK’s leader, admitted she threatened to quit in an internal row over tactical voting to maximise the pro-Remain challenge to Nigel Farage‘s Brexit Party.
Ms Allen, who left the Conservative Party to join other breakaway Tory and Labour MPs, said the majority view was that “they didn’t want to go that way”.
But Mr Umunna told the BBC: “The Remain forces in this country need to work even more closely together than we have managed to achieve up to this point between now and the general election.”
He added: “It’s going to be first past the post in a general election, so we have got to get our ducks in a row and work out what configuration is appropriate for 2019 and beyond, instead of just perhaps using the same model from the 1980s.”'
Read more: Change UK's Chuka Umunna abandons 'no pacts' pledge to propose Lib Dem alliance
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