'Chuka Umunna, who left Labour in February to found the Independent Group, has switched party once again and joined the Liberal Democrats.
The Streatham MP was one of six MPs who left the fledgling party he helped to create earlier this month, after a series of disagreements over strategy.
Change UK, initially called The Independent Group, had hoped to reshape the centre-ground of British politics and provide a home for MPs disillusioned with both of the main parties. But it split acrimoniously after polling 3% at the European elections.
Just days before the election, its interim leader Heidi Allen, the former Conservative MP, threatened to resign after a disagreement over whether the brand new party should urge its supporters to vote Lib Dem.
Umunna had since been courted by Sir Vince Cable’s resurgent party, who have successfully positioned themselves as the leading anti-Brexit party. He told the Times he was prepared for criticism of his second change of party in four months.
“I’ve got a pretty thick skin,” he said. “You don’t leave all of the political security of what are the two main parties if you’re out for self-advancement. And I’m not sure what more I could do to prove that I’m not, not a careerist.”
He said he had believed there were “millions of politically homeless people that wanted a new option on the ballot paper — I was wrong on that”.
Cable said he had “developed a relationship – I would say friendship – over quite a long period of time,” with Umunna, who previously said he “never felt totally comfortable in the Labour party”.
Change UK now consists of just five MPs, led by the former Conservative Anna Soubry – and announced on Thursday that it had been forced to change its name again, after a legal challenge from campaign group Change.org. It will now be called the Independent Group for Change.'
Read more: Chuka Umunna joins Liberal Democrats after quitting Change UK
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2 July 2019
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