‘Politics is broken’ said Change UK and then broke up

Anna Soubry and Chuka Umunna
Fréa Lockley

Change UK started out as the centrists’ dream. 11 MPs broke away from the two major parties and insisted “politics is broken”. Then, on 4 June, they broke up.

Ch ch ch changes…

On 18 February, seven MPs resigned from the Labour Party to stand as independents. By 19 February, Joan Ryan had joined the newly formed Independent Group. The next day, former Conservatives Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen joined in too. Everyone cited internal conflict and differences in their original parties among the main reasons for leaving.

By March, the Independent Group had changed its name, to ‘Change UK’. This meant it could apply to the Electoral Commission for recognition as a political party. The new party’s website declared:

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Our politics is broken, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

On 4 June, Allen, Wollaston, Chuka Umunna, Angela Smith, Luciana Berger and Gavin Shuker left. Soubry now leads Change UK.

In just four months, the group has had several names, quite a few logos, but very few votes. In the EU elections, Change UK polled 3.4% of the vote and failed to win any seats.

Centre what?

In April, Umunna proudly explained to GQ:

There is a progressive politics in our country, which is pretty much where the majority of people are. The values that underpin it are a desire to go forward with the different facets of the country marching in the right direction to achieve collective aims. It sounds wishy-washy, but many people reject this way of working. It’s unfashionable and has been described as “centrist” because it doesn’t seek to set different groups against one another – the oppressed and oppressor, the class enemy…

He also claimed his new party played a vital role in “an insurgency in the British centre ground”. The corporate media lauded Change UK as a true threat to both the Corbyn-led left and a Brexit-imploding Conservative Party.

As news of the break-up spread, many people pointed out that Change UK’s collapse proves this wasn’t quite true:

Turns out Change UK wasn’t quite the threat the corporate media suggested it was:

(Not in) Love island

Meanwhile, lots (and lots) of people found the split very (very) funny.

Because the party only lasted four months, many people noted that it’s ‘almost’ as if Change UK never existed:

The TUC’s Alex Collinson compared the party to a well-known TV show:

It seems that Umunna has now rebranded himself as “The Alternative”. No really. Some people had a few choice words for him:

But sometimes words just don’t cover it:

So the party that promised change changed so much (and so little) that it plunged into chaos. Look who’s broken now. See ya…

Featured image via Screengrab – BBC / YouTube – Good Morning Britain

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