6 CUK MPs Abandon Ship, Anna Soubry Becomes New Leader

Soubry
PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images

The Change UK (CUK) party have split just four months after their formation, with six of their 11 Members of Parliament opting to leave and Anna Soubry taking over as leader of the remaining five.

Heidi Allen, Chuka Umunna, Sarah Wollaston, Angela Smith, Luciana Berger, and Gavin Shuker all opted to leave the party today and said they would be “returning to supporting each other as an independent grouping of MPs”, the BBC reports.

The anti-Brexit MPs said their job now was “to provide collegiate leadership to bring people together in the national interest”.

“We know the landscape will continue to shift within the political environment and have concluded that by returning to sit as independents, we will be best placed to work cross-party and respond flexibly,” they added.

With previous leader Heidi Allen among those leaving the party, Anna Soubry becomes leader of the remaining MPs.

The former Tory said she was “deeply disappointed” by the split, adding that “now is not the time to walk away, but instead to roll up our sleeves and stand up for the sensible mainstream centre ground which is unrepresented in British politics today.”

How CUK can be said to represent the “mainstream centre ground” when it won only 3.3 per cent of the vote in the European Parliament elections was left unclear.

In a personal statement, former CUK MP Chuka Ummana urged anti-Brexit parties to work together.

“[T]he movement built around Change UK has an important role to play in this, however, whilst I believe it should carry on as an organisation, I do not believe Change UK should carry on in its current form.

“This has put me in a fundamentally different place not only to other Change UK parliamentary colleagues, but also its activists and candidates who should be free to take the party in the direction they wish”

The CUK Party was formed by globalist MPs who left Labour and the Conservatives, largely over their respective parties’ stances on Brexit.

Their primary concern was acting as a staunchly anti-Brexit group seeking a so-called “People’s Vote” on any deal with the option to remain in the EU on the ballot.

The party has been dogged by missteps since its foundation, however.

The group repeatedly rebranded, going by “The Independent Group”, “Change UK”, “Remain Alliance”, or a combination of the three at various times, and its expensive logo was disallowed by the Electoral Commission for being unrecognizable to voters — meaning that the party had to contest the local elections in May with a blank space next to their party name.

There was also difficulty with candidate selection, with the lead Change UK MEP candidate in Scotland announcing shortly before the election that they would be backing the Liberal Democrat candidate.

In another unforced error, the party failed to nominate a candidate for the upcoming Peterborough by-election after an attempt to field a single anti-Brexit unity candidate with the Liberal Democrats and the Greens fell through.

Both the Lib Dems and the Greens did end up putting individual candidates for the contest, leaving  CUK on the sidelines despite its efforts to bill itself as the party of choice for disaffected Remain voters.

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