Former Labour MP Chuka Ummuna has joined the Liberal Democrats just months after helping set up the troubled Independent Group for Change.
The MP for Streatham, who left Change UK recently, was one of a number of politicians who left Labour and the Tories in February in protest at the two main parties’ handling of Brexit.
Last night, Umunna tweeted:
This morning he told the BBC that despite his past criticisms of the Lib Dems for forming a coalition with the Tories, “things have changed”.
“If you want to end austerity you cannot do that if you are going to sponsor Brexit in the way that the two main parties are doing,” he said.
The Streatham MP, who helped set up Change UK, said he believed there wasn’t “room for more than one centre ground option” and that “a good handful” of Conservative and Labour MPs would soon join him in defecting to the Lib Dems.
Change UK has struggled to make an impression with voters since it was founded in February, and failed to win any members of the European Parliament in last month’s Euro elections.
Former Labour MPs Luciana Berger, Gavin Shuker and Angela Smith joined Umunna in leaving the party earlier this month, along with former Tory MPs Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston.
The group is now left with just five MPs – former Labour MPs Mike Gapes, Chris Leslie, Ann Coffey and Joan Ryan, and former Tory MP Anna Soubry, the party’s leader.
Yesterday Anna Soubry admitted that the party had applied to have its named altered from Change UK to the Independent Group for Change following a legal dispute with the petition Change.org.