Chuka Umunna appeals for voters to abandon “deeply divided” parties and join The Independent Group

Former Labour MP Chuka Umunna has called the traditional two-party system “broken” as he urges voters to back the newly founded Independent Group.

The MP for Streatham was one of seven Labour MPs who resigned from the party on Monday morning to form a new political association branded The Independent Group.

The following day Joan Ryan became the eighth Labour MP to quit and join the group.

On Wednesday they were joined by Conservative MPs Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen, who resigned from PM Theresa May’s party.

Currently The Independent Group is not a political party, and the now 11 MPs all sit as independents. However, Mr Umunna’s appeal is the strongest hint yet that the group will seek to become a parliamentary party.

He called on the public to “join us, and help us forge a new, different kind of politics for Britain’s future”.

Despite not being a party, having no official leader and no clear policies, an Opinium poll for The Observer has placed The Independent Group ahead of the Liberal Democrats, with support at 6%.

While announcing their resignations at a press conference on Monday, the seven former Labour members condemned the party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, labelling it as “a racist, anti-semitic party” that has “turned its back on the British public”.

In a statement the leader of the opposition said that he was “disappointed” with the MPs’ decision, and went on to criticise the Conservative government for the implementation of Universal Credit.

At a rally in Nottinghamshire on Saturday, Mr Corbyn labelled the “mainstream media” as “hostile and critical” for focussing on the resignations from his party.

He told the crowd: “I did an interview for Sky last night […] we got to, I think, minute twelve before I intervened and said ‘Is there any chance that anybody other than an MP could be referred to in any of your questions?'”

Mark Austin, anchor of Sky News’ ‘The News Hour’  labelled Corbyn’s remarks “utterly staggering”.

 

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