Six MPs have quit Change UK after a disastrous European election campaign

Will Metcalfe
·Contributor
Chuka Umunna speaks during a Change UK rally at Church House in Westminster, London.
Chuka Umunna speaks during a Change UK rally at Church House in Westminster, London.

Change UK has been plunged into crisis as half of its MPs quit the party.

Anna Soubry has been announced as the party’s leader after Heidi Allen, Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Sarah Wollaston, Angela Smith and Gavin Shuker.

The MPs remaining with Ms Soubry are Chris Leslie, Joan Ryan, Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey.

In a statement Ms Soubry said: "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.”

Change UK’s collapse comes following a disastrous European election campaign which saw them fail to capture a single seat on their anti-Brexit card, Mr Umunna admitted they had “made mistakes along the way” by not collaborating with existing pro-Remain parties.

Change UK party members, including Anna Soubry and Mike Gapes, at a Change UK rally at Church House in Westminster, London.
Change UK party members, including Anna Soubry and Mike Gapes, at a Change UK rally at Church House in Westminster, London.

Mr Ummuna and Ms Allen have both pushed for greater collaboration with the Liberal Democrats prompting speculation they could be about to join their ranks..

A statement from the MPs said: “We believe that our priority right now must be 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.

“We wish our colleagues well as they continue to build Change UK.”

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One party source insisted Change UK would go on to field candidates at the next general election and said the group had been working on a policy platform.

Despite attracting high-profile candidates including form Tory minister Stephen Dorrell along with Rachel Johnson, sister of Boris, and former BBC journalist Gavin Esler rows about strategy, management and cooperation with other parties seems to have derailed the party only months after it was formed.

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