CHUKA Umunna has joined the Liberal Democrats after abandoning Change UK; with sources claiming that the die-hard democracy-denier hopes to stand in outgoing leader Vince Cable’s constituency of Twickenham.
The Stretham MP left the Labour Party in February along with seven other Labour parliamentarians to establish the Independent Group, which later became Change UK. They were joined by three desertions from the Conservative and Unionist Party.
Change UK presented itself as a centrist alternative to Labour, which they claimed had been hijacked by far-left anti-semites. The central policy of Change UK is to remain within the European Union.
Its dismal performance in the European elections was due many remain voters coalescing behind the Liberal Democrats as the main remain force.
Heidi Allen, who served as its Interim Leader, threatened to resign after a row over whether or not the party should call on its supporters to vote for the Liberal Democrats in the election.
Chuka Ummuna is said to have strongly argued for Change UK to call on its supporters to vote for the Liberal Democrats. After the election, Ummuna wanted to merge Change UK into the Liberal Democrats. Five of his Change Uk colleagues supported this call.
Umunna told the Times that he could easily defend yet another shift in his party affiliation.
Ummuna 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 a careerist.”
Vince Cable, the outgoing Leader of the Liberal Democrats has praised Ummuna and welcomed him into the party.
Anna Soubry is the current Leader of Change UK. It has been forced to change its name yet again and is now known as The Independent Group – For Change.
Political strategists are sceptical on the odds of the survival of Soubry’s party. The Independent Group – For Change is polling at a mere one per cent in the polls.
Whether or Ummuna seeks re-election in his constituency of Streatham in the next general election remains unclear. Labour holds a majority of 26,285 over the Tories in the constituency.
The Liberal Democrats were last competitive in Streatham when they obtained 35.8% of the vote there in the 2010 general election.
Remain won Streatham with 80% of the vote in the 2016 referendum.
Ed Davey is one of the Liberal Democrat MPs seeking the party leadership. He said that Ummuna could seek Vince Cable’s seat of Twickenham if Cable opts to retire.
Detractors say that Ummuna’s defection to the Liberal Democrats shows that he will do anything to stay in parliament. Contesting Twickenham instead of his current constituency would exemplify this.