You may have struggled to keep up with all the twists and turns of the group of independent MPs who left Labour and the Conservatives to form their own political party. First, Heidi Allen, Chuka Umunna and co. became the ‘Independent Group’, which was hastily renamed ‘Change UK’. After several more name changes, Change UK then split after the European elections, with half its MPs becoming independent MPs, and the other half (led by Anna Soubry) becoming ‘The Independent Group for Change’.
If that wasn’t confusing enough, Mr S is sorry to say that another independent group has entered the fray today. Of the six MPs who split from Change UK in June, four have now launched ‘The Independents’ – a loose collective of MPs which describes itself as ‘not a party, but a co-operative of independents working together.’
The new non-party includes Heidi Allen, Luciana Berger, Gavin Shuker, Angela Smith and is joined by the former Labour MP John Woodcock. The other defector from Change UK, Sarah Wollaston, has chosen to spurn the ‘co-operative’ and will remain an independent MP (who is not part of ‘The Independents’).
Exactly why this new group of MPs are so infatuated with the word ‘independent’, and have opted for a name so similar to their previous incarnations is beyond Mr S’s understanding. But that’s only half as perplexing as the purpose of the new group, which promises to be ‘hard on culture, soft on policy’, and ‘committed to treating everyone with respect.’
Regardless, Mr S wouldn’t recommend getting too familiar with the new formation. After all, based on past experience, it will surely be renamed or re-formed in a week…