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Of the 11 MPs who have been members of the Change UK political outfit, six have now jumped ship and are calling themselves Independents. While this development by itself may not have much impact on politics in Britain which is already in turmoil, it does demonstrate the state of confusion that prevails in the country. The six MP’s who have chosen to call it quits are Heidi Allen, Chuka Umunna, Sarah Wollaston, Angela Smith, Luciana Berger, and Gavin Shuker. Change UK itself could not get more than 3.4% votes in the recently held elections for the European Parliament. It remains to be seen what the faction of this party can do, going ahead.
Liberal Democrats Fishing in Troubled Waters?
Somehow, in these disturbances within Change UK, there is frequent mention of Liberal Democrats. For good measure, Sir Vince Cable, the Liberal Democratic leader has even issued a statement that the “door was always open”. However, on the face of it, the MPs who have quit Change UK do not seem to be keen on joining any particular party at present. Their objective may be to keep their options open and offer issue-based support within the Parliament and outside. It appears that the overall confusion that prevails within the country on Brexit seems to be catching up with the members of Parliament.
Anna Soubry the New Leader of Change UK
With the split down the middle in the Change UK parliamentary party, the remaining MPs have chosen Anna Soubry, who was a member of the Conservative Party before joining the Change UK, as their new leader. This party may continue to support the ‘Remain’ cause irrespective of which way the Brexit story goes. Much may depend on what shape the final deal worked out with the EU takes. That may still be some weeks away as the ruling party has to come up with a consensus PM nominee to replace the outgoing PM, Teresa May.
Soubry too has issued a statement in which she has reaffirmed the stand that space exists for a “sensible mainstream centre ground” within Britain’s politics and that she and Change UK will strive to keep it afloat.
In other reports, it is indicated that the initial momentum amongst the Change UK MPs when they quit the Conservatives and Labour, to go Independent, has started to wear down already. There are reports of pressure being placed on the MPs by the other mainstream parties as well.
Would that have caused the split? It is anybody’s guess.