Tonight was a vital night for the fledgling Remain party Change UK. After the resurgence of the Lib Dems in the local elections, Chuka Umunna and Heidi Allen’s party had to fight to justify its existence, and prove that it wasn’t simply another party which was splitting the Remain vote.
Alas, it appears that that party hasn’t even managed to meet its own low expectations tonight – it may be that it can’t even muster enough votes to justify going into a coalition with the Lib Dems at the next general election.
Here are five reasons that suggest tonight could mean the end of Change UK:
Number of seats: 0
As of writing, Change UK have failed to get a single seat across the entirety of the UK. Overall the party has received only 3.5 per cent of the vote nationwide, behind both the Lib Dems and Greens, who achieved 12.2 per cent of the vote.
As the region with the most Remain support in England during the 2016 Brexit referendum, you would expect London to be fertile ground for Change UK. But not only did the party fail to get a single seat in the region, it only received 5 per cent of the total vote. By comparison, the Brexit party achieved 17 per cent.
Even in Chuka Umunna’s constituency in Lambeth, the party seemed to implode, receiving 10,000 fewer votes than the Greens. If Change UK does want to broker an electoral pact with the other Remainer parties, it will have to prove that it can reach voters the other two parties can’t. If Change UK’s leaders can’t even win in London, on their home turf, they don’t have much of a chance anywhere else.
Source from Lambeth – Lib Dems beat Labour by almost 10k votes. But Brexit party beats Change UK. Seems voters don’t actually need to be told by politicians about tactical voting and pacts… funny that! pic.twitter.com/GNP8cgYmNk
— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) May 26, 2019
If Change UK was hoping that it’s ‘star’ candidates would win it favour with the electorate and boost its appeal, it will be disappointed tonight. In the South West of England, where Rachel Johnson was standing as the Change UK lead candidate, the party did even worse than its national average, receiving only 2.8 per cent of the region’s votes.
As the results poured in this evening, BBC News asked Change UK’s interim leader Heidi Allen how she thought the night had gone. Remarkably, considering Change UK’s dire performance tonight, a bubbly Allen replied:
‘To be fair, it went really really well’. And went to point out that a ‘Remainer coalition’ had met her expectations.
With this lack of self-awareness, the party must be doomed….