Change UK have split just four months after the 11 former Labour and Tory MPs formed a new party – and they’ve even elected another new leader.
It has been exactly six weeks since Change UK launched its campaign for the European Parliamentary elections right here in Bristol.
The nation’s media descended on the city for the launch and they, along with dozens of party supporters, packed out a function room at We The Curious.
It was a launch that came with all the bells and whistles – a dramatic walk-in, outbreaks of applause, some famous names on the candidate list and plenty of Change UK branding.
When asked why Bristol for the launch MP Chris Leslie, who is one of the five to remain with the party – said it’s because “We The Curious – a lot of people are curious about what’s going on in politics.”
Unfortunately it seems not a lot of people were curious about Change UK.
The party had a pretty dismal EU elections last month, when it failed to get a single MEP elected.
Nationally Change UK managed to get just 3.4 per cent of the vote – coming just ahead of Ukip and Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru.
And it seems this result has led to a split within the party both figuratively and literally.
On Tuesday (June 4) six of the party’s 11 MPs announced the would be leaving the party to sit as independents with just five staying as part of Change UK.
The rump of the party have elected ex-Tory Anna Soubry as their new leader.
Chris Leslie, Mike Gapes, Joan Ryan and Ann Coffey will remain with the party.
But Chuka Umunna, Sarah Wollaston, Heidi Allen, Angela Smith and Luciana Berger have said they will return to “supporting each other as an independent grouping of MPs.”
There was a suggestion the breakaway MPs could join the Liberal Democrats who soared into second place in the European poll as the leading Remain party.
Liberal Democrat deputy leader and leadership candidate, Jo Swinson, has invited all pro-Remain politicians to join their party.
But according to the Mirror Online sources suggest there are currently no plans to do so.
Commenting on the split Ms Soubry MP said: “I’m deeply disappointed that at such a crucial time in British politics our former colleagues have made this decision.
“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.
“Going forward, the Change UK MPs are as determined to fix Britain’s broken politics as we were when we left our former parties.
“Challenging the established broken political parties was never going to be easy. We registered as a political party to stand in the European elections but it was never our sole purpose.
“It is vital we continue leading the fight against a damaging Brexit, pressing for a People’s Vote and being prepared to revoke Article 50 in the face of a no-deal Brexit.”
The new party was formed when seven MPs broke away from Labour citing concerns about the party’s Brexit policy, the leadership and the handling of anti-Semitism.
They were soon joined by three Tory MPs Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston who had all clashed with their party over Brexit.
Initially known as the Independent Group, called TIG by some, they finally decided on the name Change UK.
They stood a number of high profile candidates in the European elections, including Rachel Johnson in the South West and former BBC journalist Gavin Esler but failed to get the votes they needed to gain an MEP.