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Change UK loses six of its 11 MPs after poor EU elections result

Change UK loses six of its 11 MPs after poor EU elections result
Copyright REUTERS/Simon Dawson/File Photo
Copyright REUTERS/Simon Dawson/File Photo
By Emma Beswick
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Formally the Independent Group, the party of ex-Labour and Conservative MPs announced Anna Soubry had been elected leader.


After failing to see a single MEP elected in the European Parliamentary elections, Change UK suffered another blow on Tuesday as six of its 11 MPs left the party.

It came as ex-Conservative MP Anna Soubry (pictured) was appointed as leader of the party, formally known as the Independent Group.

Among those who quit the newly-formed centrist party were Heidi Allen — the interim leader — Chuka Umunna, Sarah Wollaston, Angela Smith, Luciana Berger and Gavin Shuker.

They announced that they would return to supporting each other, sitting as an independent group of MPs in the House of Commons.

"I'm deeply disappointed that at such a crucial time in British politics our former colleagues have made this decision," Soubry said in a statement.

"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. "

In a joint statement, the outgoing members said they would "be best placed to work cross-party and respond flexibly" as independents.

Their focus was now "to provide collegiate leadership to bring people together in the national interest," they added.

Former Labour MP Umunna said in an individual statement that "whilst I believe it should carry on as an organisation, I do not believe Change UK should carry on in its current form."

Change UK was created earlier this year by Labour and Conservative MPs who quit the traditional parties, pledging to put any Brexit deal to the people in a national referendum.

However, in the EU elections last month, the party gained just 3.4% of the vote.

Following the split, the party send an email to its members saying: "While British politics slips into chaos around us, now is the time to stand firm in our beliefs and champion the mainstream centre ground values we articulated when we left our former parties in the first place."

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