Chuka Umunna to join Liberal Democrats after quitting Change UK

Chuka Umunna

Chuka Umunna

Umunna quit the Labour Party earlier 2019 to help form a pro-European new political party, but has now moved to join the centrist Liberal Democrats, and is quoted Friday June 14, 2019, in The Times of London, saying the Lib Dems are best placed to stop Brexit.

Formerly known as the Independent Group, Change UK was created in February by seven MPs from the main opposition Labour party dissatisfied with leader Jeremy Corbyn's Brexit strategy and the handling of an antisemitism scandal.

Labour Party chairman Ian Lavery responded: "Whey aye Chuka....we believe you we really do!"

"I'm not going to become the leader of the Lib Dems", he said.

"Where they go, when they go I can't predict, but it is important we talk to them".

"He's been a member of three political parties this year".

Mr Umunna's move is the latest act in an ongoing drama of political realignment in the United Kingdom eroding old party loyalties and the left-right dichotomy, with Brexit and issues around it increasingly seen as the key dividing line.

Now, the Streatham MP has said he will be joining the Lib Dems, despite previously slating the party online.

Unveiling his party's new MP at a press conference yesterday, Sir Vince praised Mr Umunna as a "big political figure" who had the "leadership potential" necessary to run in the future.

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He said: "Labour and the Tories are committed to facilitating Brexit, and Brexit makes ending austerity virtually impossible".

Meanwhile, the centrist, pro-EU Liberal Democrats - who had been heavily punished by voters in the 2017 snap elections for measures introduced while they were in the ruling coalition with the Conservatives - finished second in the European ballot with 19.6%.

He said: "Yes, but I'm curious to know how many of them said "You can't trust Vince Cable and the Liberal Democrats".

"I know that he will be a great asset to our party not just on Brexit, but in fighting for the liberal and social democratic values that we share".

Umunna admitted that he wrongly thought people in the United Kingdom wanted a new party but has since realised "what people actually wanted us to to actually work together in the centre ground with existing forces to build the strongest possible vehicle to take our politics forward".

In an interview with the Times, when asked if he was prepared for the backlash from his former colleagues, Umunna said: "I've got a pretty thick skin. And I'm not sure what more I could do to prove that I'm not, not a careerist".

The MP, who withdrew from the 2015 Labour leadership contest days after announcing his candidacy, also ruled out standing for Lib Dem leader.

He was widely expected to become the leader of Change UK, but ended up as party spokesman instead.

It pledged to push for any Brexit deal negotiated by the government to be voted on at a referendum - or "People's Vote" - in which it would campaign for the United Kingdom to remain in the EU.

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