On 6 September, serial party-changer Chuka Umunna announced that he would be competing for a different parliamentary seat in the next general election. Since leaving the Labour Party earlier this year, he has refused to give constituents a chance to change their minds too via a by-election.
I'm delighted to have been appointed as the @LibDems candidate for the Cities of London & Westminster. I relish the prospect of ensuring the constituency – which is a global symbol for open, liberal values– is represented by a party and an MP who will be true to those values. https://t.co/6sWYUkGJ7M
— Chuka Umunna (@ChukaUmunna) September 6, 2019
Umunna had previously faced demands from his Streatham constituents for a by-election:
Amazing turnout for campaigners braving the elements to demand a by-election in Streatham.
Almost every single voter I spoke to on the doorstep thought Chuka Umunna should stand down and allow an election. pic.twitter.com/MAjHaaodZj
— Owen REGISTER TO VOTE Jones🌹 (@OwenJones84) March 16, 2019
He continues to face such demands today:
Confirms what we all knew all along: Chuka Umunna is an unprincipled careerist who doesn't care about the people of Streatham. He needs to call a by election. https://t.co/a6VYdP85Eg
— anita K (@a_nitak) September 6, 2019
The currently Liberal Democrat MP previously defended his refusal to trigger a by-election, however, saying that “under our constitution you are elected as an individual first and foremost”. And he insisted local people “don’t have a problem with what I’m doing”. This was despite him stressing very openly in 2017 that he himself couldn’t forgive the Lib Dems for the suffering they’d helped the Conservatives to inflict on the constituency:
— Chuka Umunna (@ChukaUmunna) April 24, 2017
While apparently confident about local support, though, he’s now flying off to a different seat.
Out of the frying pan and into the fire?
Streatham was a long-time Conservative seat, but Labour has controlled it since 1992. The Lib Dems, meanwhile, last came in second place in 2010. So perhaps Umunna was wary of a possible defeat if he stood there as a Lib Dem candidate.
Either way, though, the Cities of London and Westminster seat may not be any easier for him to win. As the BBC reported:
Twice during the 1980s the Lib Dems came second to the Conservatives but the party has never received more than 21% of the vote and has often trailed behind Labour in third.
Indeed, Labour won 38% of the votes in 2017, while the Lib Dems won only 11%.
Can see that winning Streatham as a Lib Dem would have been difficult. But not sure that chances in Westminster are any better. If anything Lib Dems have fared better historically in Umunna’s seat (came close second in 2010). https://t.co/mDhzI6s672 pic.twitter.com/uDZOYFE3vI
— Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) September 6, 2019
In short, the next general election may not be very kind to Umunna.
At least Streatham constituents finally know just how committed to them Umunna is, though.
Featured image via YouTube
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?