Chuka standing for the Lib Dems? Really?

The Mail on Sunday  seems very certain that Chuka Umunna, having left Change UK, is going to stand for the Lib Dems in Streatham.

This has about as much fact as anyone reading this site would expect from a Daily Mail story.

Let’s dial it back a little.

In order to stand as a Lib Dem candidate, you have to be a member of the party. Chuka isn’t. I suspect that if he wanted to join at some point in the future, we wouldn’t stand in his way.  I certainly wouldn’t be averse to that, as I said the other day and I quite like the idea of arguing against his suggestion that young people should have to do national service on the floor of conference.

There is also process to go through to be able to stand as a Lib Dem candidate.

Also, you have to consider that the Lib Dems already have a very good candidate for Streatham, Helen Thompson. A bit rude of that story not to even mention her. If Chuka were to join the party and were to be interested in standing in the seat he currently holds, sensitive conversations would have to be had.

And the thing about this party is, that we can have pretty robust discussions with each other, continue to disagree and then all go to the pub together afterwards.

So what does Chuka actually have to say about all of this?

He spoke to the Independent:

Asked if he might eventually apply to join the Lib Dems, he said only: “I am keeping all options open and will carry on focusing on the needs of my constituents.”

If he did want to join us, both leadership candidates would be open to the idea:

Lib Dem leadership contender Ed Davey has said he would welcome the former Labour frontbencher as a member, while his rival in the race to succeed Vince Cable, Jo Swinson, says the party’s “doors are open” to those who share its values.

But these are not decisions for right now and none of it is the done deal the Mail suggested.

Whether Chuka and/or his colleagues join us or not, there is no doubt that we will all need to work together to try to bring about an end to Brexit in the months ahead. There have been cross party relationships formed as a result of all of this that will be very difficult to unravel when it is eventually resolved. This might just make our politics a bit more sensible and inclusive.

I was going to write that we can only hope. But no, we have to do. We have to shape the future. The country requires that the sensible, progressive MPs find a way to sort this mess out

 

 

 

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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6 Comments

  • Thanks for this Caron. I’ve been asking the official party to comment on this for the last 2 days, without success. I know you’re not ‘the official party’ but you are well-connected so I feel I’ve finally got the clarity I was looking for.
    So, it was a typical piece of nonsense from the Mail. However, I’m disappointed that the party didn’t stamp on this story. The total silence from our press office allowed it to continue to spread on social media all weekend. I would have no problem with Chuka joining the party, but the idea that we had guaranteed him anything – and at one point the rumour was that he was to be ‘given’ the nomination in Twickenham to succeed Vince – was not a good look.
    The other thing that worries me is where did this rumour come from? I actually don’t believe the Mail would have completely made it up. So either Chuka himself or his allies… or someone senior in our party… thought this was a kite worth flying. And again, the failure/refusal of our press office to stamp on it was either shoddy, or quite worrying.

  • Erlend Watson 11th Jun '19 - 1:58am

    In terms of letting improved relations with group of 6 continue I think silence from official sources was probably right. And I think Chukka did the same. And wasnt there also a story that Heidi and Sarah were doing similar (Times?). Again no comment publicly on either side. Without oxygen fire dies. Now I suspect anything public re them doing anything will not happen until there is a new leader. And my best guess is that whoever wins something positive will emerge.

  • Seems a good idea to me

  • Julian Tisi 11th Jun '19 - 4:43pm

    I suspect that this is something that is on the cards but not agreed. Hence no comment, either by us or Chukka. Personally I would love to see him in the Lib Dems. I think he would be a great asset to us.

  • Richard Underhill 13th Jun '19 - 7:47am

    A Remainer joining us would be all very well, but does not alter the balance.
    Yesterday the Labour attempt to control the Commons business failed. Try again?
    Labour MPs had a reportedly “fractious” meeting on 12/6/19. About what?
    The first round of voting in the Tory leadership is today, One eliminated already.
    Result expected between 12 noon and 1 pm.

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