Umunna’s leaked plan didn’t go down well with LibDem activists
News has emerged that former Labour – and former ‘Tinge party’ MP – Chuka Umunna will stand for the LibDems in Streatham in the next general election. He has still shown no sign of offering Streatham voters the opportunity to have a democratic say by offering a by-election.
LibDem activists at the recent European Parliament elections were adamant that he would not be allowed to represent them, saying that they would have to be consulted and that they would say no.
However, LibDem leadership contender Ed Davey insisted Umunna would be welcome.
The LibDems’ rule-book is clear that local members decide who will represent them in parliamentary elections:
Existing LibDem parliamentary candidates are also opposed, telling the New Statesman in April that Umunna backed policies that made them ‘aghast’ and that they had a low opinion of the ‘TIG’ MPs:
They are suspicious of TIG
None of the candidates were opposed to working with the Independent Group, which is in the process of registering as a party called Change UK. But most were sceptical of it and several of its MPs. “There are worries about their policy stances,” one said.
Several candidates brought up Chuka Umunna’s call for a form of national service, which liberals would be “aghast at”. They also mentioned Joan Ryan’s deputy chairmanship of the ‘No to Alternative Voting’ campaign in the 2011 referendum that would have changed Britain’s voting system.
Candidates argued that TIG has yet to develop its own policies. “We’re clear what we stand for. We need to know what they represent,” one said. “With some of them it’s clear they were leaving something rather than going towards something,” according to another.
They’re right to be suspicious. In late April, a leaked memo revealed that Umunna and his ‘CUK’ colleagues were plotting to wipe out and replace – yes, you’ve guessed it – the LibDems:
LibDem members were understandably peeved.
Umunna’s Twitter profile does not yet reflect his new LibDem ‘allegiance’, liveried in a kind of magenta matching one of the post-Change theme colours on his website. Bizarrely, however, as of the time of writing his profile still features him at the ‘TIG’ launch in its landing-page banner:
Even more bizarrely, the home page also still uses the TIG/CUK line about politics being broken – and that ‘something different’ is needed to fix it.
Umunna was with current LibDem leader Vince Cable on Thursday. The closing date for leadership applications, coincidentally, was Friday.
Joining a party formed in 1990 by the merger of one founded in the 1850s with another formed in 1981 might just be considered an odd way of Umunna doing ‘something different’ to fix ‘broken’ politics – especially when the party he’s joining is indelibly stained by its complicit guilt in the huge damage done to the people of this country by politically-driven austerity.
But perhaps change is no longer needed and Chuka will soon change his website headline to: “More of the same – only orange!“.
What an embarrassment these quitters have made of themselves. If Umunna thinks he’s worth electing behind any colour of rosette, let him respect his constituents and call a by-election.
But this ridiculous business reflects equally badly on the LibDems, who are clearly don’t really believe they’re electable and are scrabbling desperately for any boost to their numbers.
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