Tag Archives: chuka umunna

LibLink: Chuka Umunna: Dark and dangerous threats against MPs like me are a sign that No 10 and Cummings are getting utterly brazen

The Government is reportedly investigating MPs who have had dialogue with representatives of foreign governments. It also intends to introduce legislation to stop MPs talking to foreign governments. In an article for the Independent, Chuka Umunna said that this had a whiff of the 1930s about it.

However, the right-wing nationalists running the government are now taking things to an altogether different level – this is quite frightening, particularly if they were to get a majority at the general election whenever it comes. They are seeking to persecute and harass MPs by falsely accusing them of colluding with EU governments over Brexit. It is an absurd proposition given that the EU27 and the UK government are all working to ensure the withdrawal agreement Johnson has negotiated with the EU is delivered, and he himself wrote to them over the weekend urging them to ignore parliament’s desire for article 50 to be extended.

This, he said, was a brazen attempt to suppress dissent.

These accusations are made to call into question our loyalty and patriotism. Former Conservative backbenchers and ministers Oliver Letwin and Dominic Grieve, and Brexit Select Committee chair and former Labour minister Hilary Benn are reportedly under investigation.

This has a strong whiff of the 1930s about it – it is a brazen attempt to suppress dissent and persecute political opponents in parliament by this right wing, nationalist government.

One foreign office official put it well today when they said: “Threatening MPs with investigation is something you would expect the government to be stopping abroad, not encouraging at home.”

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Labour MPs surely can’t support the bonfire of workers’ rights in Boris Johnson’s deal

One of the many compelling reasons to stay in the EU (alongside peace and prosperity) is the protection that workers get from being in the single market.

To create a level playing field, there are minimum standards on things like maternity leave, TUPE (protection if your job is outsourced), working hours and paid holidays. Certainly our current law goes beyond the minimum protections in many ways. However, if we leave the EU, all bets are off. We simply can’t trust the most right wing government in living memory with workers’ rights.

If our rights were safe, surely they would at least have kept in the pretty weak protections Theresa May put in to try and entice Labour MPs to vote for it.

But, no. The author of Article 50, John Kerr, told the Edinburgh March for Europe in September that UK negotiators had asked for all the labour, social and environmental protections to be removed from the Withdrawal Agreement..

The People’s Vote campaign outlined the other day exactly what the differences were. There’s a lot of shall and should in the previous version. Now it’s more “these are a thing.”

The first quote is from Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement

“With the aim of ensuring the proper functioning of the single customs territory, the Union and the United Kingdom shall ensure that the level of protection provided for by law, regulations and practices is not reduced below the level provided by the common standards applicable within the Union and the United Kingdom at the end of the transition period in the area of labour and social protection and as regards fundamental rights at work, occupational health and safety, fair working conditions and employment standards, information and consultation rights at company level, and restructuring.”

What Boris Johnson’s legally-binding Withdrawal Agreement says on workers’ rights:

“AIMING at continuing to promote balanced economic and social development in the area, in particular in terms of labour conditions, and continuing to ensure the highest levels of environmental protection in accordance with Union law”

 TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady condemned the proposals and called for MPs to reject the deal:

I understand this is a difficult time. But defending working people’s rights is at the heart of everything trade unions believe in. For the sake of working families now and in the future, we can’t support a deal that will trash those rights. We ask MPs to vote against it.

And our Chuka Umunna made an apt analogy on Twitter:

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14 October 2019 – the overnight press release

Labour’s renationalisition plans set to cost billions

Responding to the analysis by the CBI that the cost of Labour’s renationalisation plans is estimated to be £196 billion, Liberal Democrat MP Chuka Umunna said:

The Tories are pursuing an ideological hard Brexit, depriving the Exchequer of much needed revenue, whilst Labour plans to do the same with a Labour Brexit in addition to spending billions of pounds with no idea how they will pay for it.

The only sensible alternative to these two broken parties is to stop Brexit and use the resulting Remain bonus to invest in people and public services – the

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12-13 October 2019 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Lib Dems: Compulsory voter ID is an attempt to rig our elections
  • Lib Dems: Govt must ban arms sales to Turkey

Lib Dems: Compulsory voter ID is an attempt to rig our elections

Responding to the reports that the Government are set to announce it will be compulsory for voters to show identification at the next election, Liberal Democrat shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, Tom Brake said:

The move by the Government to make voter ID compulsory is a thinly-veiled attempt to rig the results of future elections. We know from the pilot back in 2018 that voter fraud was inconsequential, whilst what

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8 October 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Davey: Brexit would mortgage our children’s future
  • Jane Dodds Calls for Pledge to Maintain Last-in-Town Banks
  • Blame for the Brexit mess sits with the Tory Govt

Davey: Brexit would mortgage our children’s future

Following reports from the IFS that a no-deal Brexit will push UK debt to the highest levels since the 1960s, Lib Dem Shadow Chancellor Ed Davey said:

This new analysis is a body blow to Boris Johnson’s election spending plans – as it shows the cost of Brexit is much higher than thought.

Brexit would mortgage our children’s future, plunging Britain into the red and threatening years of new austerity.

There is simply no

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7 October 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems: Govt grovelling over food standards to try and secure US trade deal
  • Swinson: Corbyn could be the block to stopping a No Deal
  • Heidi Allen joins the Liberal Democrats (see here)

Lib Dems: Govt grovelling over food standards to try and secure US trade deal

Responding to the reports from a leaked document stating that the Department for International Trade will try to lower the UK’s food standards to secure a trade deal with the United States, Liberal Democrat shadow Foreign Secretary Chuka Umunna said:

The promises made by Boris Johnson and the Conservative Government that the UK would have a whole

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New seats for our new MPs

This afternoon it’s been announced that Phillip Lee will be taking on John Redwood for the Liberal Democrats at the General Election. He will move from his current seat in Bracknell to Wokingham, which is considered winnable for the party.

According to the Wokingham Paper:

THE Liberal Democrats have announced that their candidate for Wokingham will be one of its newest MPs, Dr Phillip Lee. It sets up a Leave v Remain contest against the incumbent, Sir John Redwood.

Sir Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrats deputy leader, announced the news to a packed meeting of Wokingham party members held at the Hilton St Anne’s Manor hotel in London Road.

The seat is one that polling by ComRes suggests could switch to the Lib Dems.

A projection suggests that the party would have a 37% vote share, compared to 33% for the Conservatives and 14% for Labour.

However, it also lists the Brexit party as 9% – the party is unlikely to field a candidate in Wokingham constituency as Sir John Redwood is a committed Leaver.

This move will be more controversial than Chuka Umunna moving to Cities of London and Westminster or Luciana Berger moving to Finchley and Golders Green. Both of these moves were widely welcomed in the party.

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20 September 2019 – yesterday’s press release

Umunna: Thornberry must withdraw Taliban remarks

Responding to the comments made by Emily Thornberry comparing the Liberal Democrats to the Taliban, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Chuka Umunna said:

Emily Thornberry should withdraw her inappropriate remarks. Language counts – comparing the Liberal Democrats to a murderous organisation is no laughing matter.

It is also grossly insulting to the 6 million people who signed the revoke Article 50 petition launched earlier this year, including many of the Shadow Cabinet’s constituents.

The Liberal Democrats are clear that every vote for us is a vote to stop Brexit.

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In full: Chuka Umunna’s speech to Conference

The Liberal Democrats have taken Chuka Umunna pretty much to our hearts since he joined in June. He seems really happy and comfortable in his new surroundings

Today he gave a keynote speech to Conference.

Watch here:

Here is the text in full.

Conference, it is an honour and a pleasure to be addressing you as a Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament and as your Shadow Foreign Secretary.

Now, I’ve been to a few parties and I hope I don’t sound immodest when I say my experience of joining this party underlines that it was one of the best decisions I have ever made since going into politics.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for making me feel so welcome. I could not be more at home in the wonderful Liberal Democrat family.

And the decision to join was not made out of crude self interest…If self interest or climbing the greasy poll is your goal, I would not recommend following my example.

The truth is, all the incredibly difficult decisions I have made on the journey I’ve been on this year were routed in my values and principles. I joined this party out of conviction.

As you know, I am a Remainer and proud of it – we have spent far too long apologising for being pro-European in this country. Because you cannot be pro-Britain and put our national interest first without seeking to put Britain at the heart of Europe.

But, even more importantly, I am a social democrat with liberal values. You see, to be a Remainer is not only to be an advocate of our continued membership of the European Union; it is to hold a set of liberal, internationalist values of which we Liberal Democrats are the champions and defenders in Britain.

In an attempt to smear those of us who have an internationalist outlook, Theresa May said “if you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere”. What utter garbage. We are citizens of the world and – just you watch – at the next election you will see Liberal Democrats taking seats from the Tories in every part of the country as so many people are flocking to us, the strongest and biggest Remain party.

Be in no doubt: this is the battle of our time and it goes far beyond Britain’s borders.

What it is to be a liberal

Our party exists to build and defend a fair, free and open society, a society in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity……That was taken straight from our constitution – as you can see, I’ve done my homework.

In essence, the society we seek to build is one where if you work hard and play by the rules, you should be free to lead a happy, prosperous and secure life free of domination of either the state or the market. And we want to ensure future generations can do the same by preserving our planet for the long term continuity of life in all its forms.

I grew up in world in which we took these values for granted.

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Government forced to publish data showing less than 3 in 10 UK exporters are prepared for ‘no deal’ Brexit

New data obtained by the Liberal Democrats from HM Treasury shows less than 3 in 10 exporters to the EU are ready for a ‘no deal’ Brexit. Figures suggest most will not be ready until the beginning of 2021.

In a no-deal Brexit, businesses that currently only trade with EU countries will need to apply for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number to trade goods into and out of the UK. HMRC uses this number to identify the business and collect duty on their goods.

Various business lobbying organisations have been warning for months of a serious lack of …

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Chuka Umunna MP writes…Lib Dems are the only party committed to stopping Brexit and tackling the causes of Brexit

As the Conservative leadership contest draws to a close, with both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt putting fresh paint on the impossible red lines set out by the Leave campaign, the threat of a a No Deal Brexit is closer than ever.

Both candidates are disregarding all the facts about the disastrous consequences this would have for the UK, with Boris Johnson even searching for ways to suspend Parliament to circumvent MPs to run down the clock to exit day.

Such a move would not only be a democratic outrage, but herald one of the most destructive acts of self harm on the UK ever willingly committed by our government. 

On Thursday, the Office for Budget Responsibility published its fiscal risks report. Commissioned in 2015, the report sets out to analyse the risks to public finances over the short to medium term. 

This year, the OBR devoted an entire chapter to assessing the risk of a No Deal Brexit to the UK’s finances and the findings were jaw-dropping.

Here are just 10 things the OBR warns would happen under Boris Johnson’s No Deal Brexit scenario:

1) The UK would enter a “year-long recession” at the end of 2019, with real GDP immediately falling by 2.1%.

2) The value of the pound would depreciate by 10% immediately, and remain low until at least 2024.

3) Business investment would drop due to trade costs, economic uncertainty and loss of some export markets.

4) Residential Investment and consumer spending would fall as real household income is squeezed.

5) Productivity growth would become even weaker, and remain below current projections until 2024. 

6) The growth in earnings would slow even further and remain so for the first few years.

7) Real wages would become “significantly lower”, by as much as 2.5% by 2024 compared to the last forecast.

8) Borrowing would be around £30bn a year higher from 2020-21 onwards due to tax receipts falling. This means no fiscal headroom at all for any of the tax and spend promises of Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt, or to allow the government to end austerity.

9) The overall impact of a No Deal Brexit and then trading on WTO rules would be a hit to GDP of 5.9%.

10) If a No Deal, WTO Brexit was combined with a stricter immigration policy for EU citizens, this hit to GDP would rise substantially, potentially as high as 9% according to the Government’s own figures.

On top of this, Brexit has already resulted in a weak pound, which has lost 17% of its value against the dollar since the 2016 vote; higher inflation; big falls in manufacturing output, construction, and business investment; and we have not even left the EU yet. 

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20-21 July 2019 – the weekend’s press releases

Conservative Party reminded of Brexit realities

Commenting on Simon Coveney’s interview on the Andrew Marr Show, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

The Irish Deputy Prime Minister has reminded the Conservative party of the realities of Brexit today.

There will be no changes to the backstop and the fantasy of GATT 24 has been expunged once again.

The Conservatives must not be allowed to waste any more time to push the country ever closer to No Deal Brexit. Parliament must show that the only real way forward is a People’s Vote with an option to remain in the EU.

Hammond must join fight

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19 July 2019 – live from Brecon, today’s press releases…

  • Lib Dems bring forward legislation to protect EU citizens
  • Lib Dems: Govt must provide urgent clarity on teachers’ pay
  • Lib Dem legislation to protect victims of crime passes second reading
  • Davey: Govt must fund police pay rise
  • Umunna slams economically incompetent Tories
  • Swinson: This is a time for cool heads in the Gulf

Lib Dems bring forward legislation to protect EU citizens

Today, the Liberal Democrats have brought forward a bill to safeguard EU citizens’ rights.

The Bill brought forward by Liberal Democrat peer Jonny Oates would provide a guarantee that, regardless of the outcome of Brexit, the rights of EU citizens and other EEA nationals living in …

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18 July 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

There was a bit of a glitch yesterday, as the press releases ended up in my spam folder for some reason. Things seem to be back to normal, so the usual service resumes here…

  • Welsh Lib Dems – time to embrace zero-carbon housing
  • Lib Dems: EU resolution a vital step in UK’s duty to stand up for people of Hong Kong
  • Davey demands urgent action as knife crime epidemic continues to spread
  • Umunna: OBR report shows No Deal Brexit would be unforgivable
  • Lib Dems: Johnson’s ‘fishy tales’ have no plaice in Number Ten
  • Lib Dems: Milestone victory to block no-deal
  • Gauke talks the talk but can’t walk

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16 July 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Umunna: Ministers asleep at the wheel in the face of online shopping time bomb
  • New Lib Dem leader to hold Brexit talks with Barnier
  • Lib Dems: New PM must not delay Domestic Abuse Bill

Umunna: Ministers asleep at the wheel in the face of online shopping time bomb

The introduction of Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) will lead to two-factor authentication for all online purchases. The aim of this is to cut down on fraud and improve digital security, however the Government have failed to both support retailers or inform consumers about this change.

Furthermore, it is estimated that around 2 million people do not have …

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13-14 July 2019 – the weekend’s press releases

FSB no-deal warning reinforces Tory irresponsibility

Responding to the warning this morning on Sky from the Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Mike Cherry, that a no-deal Brexit would be disastrous for small businesses in the UK, Liberal Democrat Business and Treasury spokesperson Chuka Umunna MP said:

The uncertainty of Brexit hangs over all businesses in the UK. Small businesses spent millions preparing for the UK’s exit from the EU on the 29th March this year, but they do not have the resources to do so again.

The Conservatives have failed to put the interests of the country ahead of the

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6-7 July 2019 – the weekend’s press release

McDonnell guilty of incredible hypocrisy

Commenting on John McDonnell’s appearance on the Andrew Marr show, Liberal Democrat Treasury and Business spokesperson Chuka Umunna said:

John McDonnell has displayed incredible hypocrisy pretending to be pro-Remain. Not only has he campaigned for decades to leave the EU, as recently as last year he argued that Remain should not be on the ballot in a People’s Vote.

The Labour leadership have let down Remainers again and again and can’t be trusted to campaign unequivocally to stay in the EU. Labour policy is still to facilitate Brexit and prioritise their alternative Brexit deal.

People can

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LibLink: Chuka Umunna: London’s young people know how to stop the knife crime epidemic – here’s what they told me

Chuka Umunna used his Independent column to talk about knife crime. He described how he visited at least one school in his constituency every week and discussed the issue with young people.

They identify a huge variety of things that need to happen in order to tackle a problem that is ruining so many lives:

Unsurprisingly, one of the boys told me his mum wanted his family to move as they did not feel safe on his estate – many parents come to my constituency surgery asking for help to do just that. Another described how he had found drugs and what he thought were bullets in the field where he and his mates play football. A little girl told me how she fears for the welfare of her teenage half-brother.

These children have had to witness things no one should have to see as an adult, never mind as a young person. Their understanding of why it is happening and what should be done about the violence is sophisticated and well thought through. They told me that they supported stop and search and believed it certainly helped reduce the numbers carrying knives but that it was important the power was used appropriately and sensitively by the police and not used to discriminate. They wanted to see tougher sanctions for possession and for those who stab others, with far more police on our streets to enforce our laws, but did not believe that would solve the issue.

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Chuka calls out Ann Widdecombe’s slavery comments

When I was 8 years old, I watched the tv series Roots. I was horrified at its depiction of slavery and it sparked in me a lifelong commitment to human rights, fairness, freedom and equality. The principle of one human being owning another was bad enough, but the brutality with which the slaves were treated shocked me to the core.

So when Ann Widdecombe came out with her nonsense comparing Brexit to slaves attaining their freedom, I was angry. How dare she attack an institution that is so committed to peace, democracy and human rights?

Chuka Umunna took her to task:

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2 July 2019 – today’s press releases

Umunna: Johnson Brexit policy will result in £90bn hit to the public purse

The Chancellor has today confirmed that the Government is already having to hold back £26-27 billion of fiscal headroom to deal with the disastrous impact of a No Deal exit from the European Union, and that even more than that will be needed. Furthermore, the Government’s own analysis shows that a disruptive No Deal Brexit will hit the public purse by £90 billion as a minimum.

Commenting on the Chancellor Phillip Hammond’s remarks, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Treasury and Business, Chuka Umunna MP, said:

Boris Johnson plans to give

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Chuka’s first Lib Dem canvassing session

The other night, Chuka Umunna had his first proper canvassing session with the Lib Dems.

He seems really happy and relaxed with the choice he has made to join us.

 

A word about Helen. Until a couple of weeks ago, she was the PPC for Streatham. And then suddenly she finds that there is a Lib Dem MP. She has shown such generosity of spirit in welcoming Chuka and we should recognise that.

So Chuka definitely has promise. He can hold a diamond the right way up, he can deliver leaflets with a bar chart and he seems to have got the hang of Minivan very quickly indeed.

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LibLink: Chuka Umunna: Boris as PM would tell world Britain brazenly tolerates prejudice and hatred

So, it’s Chuka Umunna’s LibLink debut.

And he’s used his Independent column to talk about Boris Johnson’s unsuitability to be Prime Minister.

Chuka contrasts the Tory membership with the population as a whole:

The average age of a UK citizen is 40, over-65s make up around 18 per cent of the population, and those aged between 18 and 24 make up 9 per cent of the population. On this measure, the Tory party is in no way representative. The project found that the average age of a Tory party member is 57, significantly older, with 38 per cent of Tory party members aged 66 and over, and 7 per cent between 18 and 25 years old.

And it doesn’t get better with other diversity characteristics:

The population is split more or less equally between the genders, yet three-quarters of Tory members are men. Whereas around 14 per cent of the population is of an ethnic minority background, just 3 per cent of Tory party members are non-white.

And then we get to Boris and his greatest transgressions:
He has described black people as “piccanninnies” with “watermelon smiles”. Last summer, he compared Muslim women wearing veils to “letterboxes” and “bank robbers”. And, this weekend, none other than Steve Bannon, right-wing populist and former campaign manager to Donald Trump, revealed that he worked with Johnson on his government resignation speech last year. I don’t know whether Johnson is a racist or not – only he can answer that question definitively. But there is no doubt that the aforementioned comments are racist and, at the very least, they reveal a complete disrespect and condescension towards those of a different ethnicity.

He describes how his fellow panellists on Politics Live last week dismissed Johnson’s remarks:

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Chuka: Make large businesses pay promptly

The novelty of Chuka Umunna as a new Lib Dem MP hasn’t quite worn off yet. For the second day running our new Treasury Spokesperon tackled the Government, this time on measures to deal with late business payments, trying to nail their jelly to the wall.

I thank the Minister for advance sight of her statement. She talked about the challenges facing small businesses. Brexit, of course, will cause huge disruption to small businesses’ supply chains given the added bureaucracy and tariffs.

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Chuka’s first parliamentary question as a Lib Dem

Chuka Umunna is no stranger to holding the government to account. He spent four years opposing the Business Secretary, one Vincent Cable. The effect of that seems to have been the formation of a close friendship.

Today he asked his first question as a Lib Dem on a touchstone liberal issue – the benefits of immigration and the awfulness of the Tory Government’s policies:

The King’s Fund says that the earnings threshold in the Government’s immigration proposals, which was mentioned earlier, will definitely impact on the ability to retain and attract NHS staff. The proposals for a transition period during which many social care workers would only be allowed to come here for a limited time with no entitlement to bring dependants will, again, negatively impact on the ability to retain staff. When will this Government realise that immigration is good for our public services and good for our country, and that badly thought out policy in this area that impacts on the retention of NHS staff is wrong and nonsensical?

It’s nice to see him down as a Lib Dem in Hansard, too.

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Chuka joining the Lib Dems is good for him, the Lib Dems and UK politics

Chuka Umunna becoming a member of the Liberal Democrats is good for him, the Liberal Democrats and politics in the UK. There are several and important, obvious and not as obvious, reasons why this is so.

Chuka Umunna is clearly an able, dynamic, eloquent personality. Anybody who has seen him relate to and engage with people, can see this. At home on television, with interviewers, on platforms, he is a communicator who is a good talker and listener. And he is as at ease with school kids and young people in their turf as he is in the Westminster bubble.

He brings with him knowledge of and a background from, South London and its diverse communities. I am from South London and have been a resident of Streatham too. I know he has a high reputation there.

He has in his biography, some remarkable elements, not as often alluded to. His African father Bennett Umunna, came to the UK with no money. He started and built a successful import and export business. He became involved in Nigerian politics, and his stand against corruption brings some to the conclusion that his tragic demise, in a car accident when young Chuka was in his early teens, was no accident. Bennett had met and married  Patricia Milmo, a solicitor. Chuka’s mother is the daughter of Sir Helenius Milmo, a prosecuting lawyer at the Nuremberg trials. What few know, is, they are also descendants of a great Liberal politician Samuel Morley.

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Ed and Jo on Chuka joining the Lib Dems

Both the leadership candidates have warmly welcomed Chuka Umunna to the Lib Dems:

Ed said:

Stopping Brexit is my number one priority and I welcome Chuka to our benches as a key player in this fight. He has shown huge courage, and will make a major contribution to the Liberal Democrats.

Liberal Democrats are back in the game, and the only viable force for pro-Europeans across the UK. Join us.

Jo said:

I have said all along that growing a liberal movement means reaching out to bring more people into our party, and I am delighted that Chuka has decided to join the Liberal Democrats.

I have worked with Chuka on the People’s Vote campaign, and I know the passion, intellect, and energy he will bring to our party, and our campaign to stop Brexit.

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Chuka: Lib Dems offer the best chance to improve the lives of the people I represent

I am convinced the Liberal Democrats, as the spearhead of a broader progressive movement in civil society, offer the best chance to improve the lives of those I represent as well as countless other citizens across our country.

The time has come to put past differences behind us and, in the national interest, do what is right for the country. So I urge others to join the party too.

So says the newest Lib Dem MP Chuka Umunna in an article on the Lib Dem website. He’s also been on the Today programme this morning (at about 7:12 am if you want to catch him on catch up) knocking it out of the park, to be honest. It was a very strong and positive interview in which he described how, as a social democrat with liberal values and a passionate internationalist, his values matched up to ours.

In his article and interview, he tackled his prior criticism of the Liberal Democrats’ role in the coalition.

I found it hard to come to terms with the impact of the public spending cuts which were instigated by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government of 2010-2015.

I did not disagree with the need to reduce the public sector deficit and debt – indeed Labour’s last Chancellor Alistair Darling accepted this.

But I did disagree with the speed and severity of fiscal consolidation, and the extent to which cuts to public spending as opposed to tax increases were made to carry the burden.

Four years on from their time in office, things have changed.

The Liberal Democrats have voted against every Tory budget since 2015. They stood on an anti-austerity manifesto in 2017 with, for example, commitments to end the public sector pay cap, increase tax to pay for the NHS and reverse cuts to housing benefit and Universal Credit.

Senior figures – including Vince – have since said that, although they curbed George Osborne’s worst excesses, they should not have allowed measures like the bedroom tax to be introduced.

They also accept that a major mistake was made in making and then breaking a pledge on university tuition fees, which should never happen again.

Most importantly, the biggest impediment to ending austerity currently is pressing on with Brexit.

It is worth pointing out that many Lib Dem members were incredibly unhappy with some of the things we allowed to go ahead as part of the coalition – including me – even if we did see some of the good that we were doing.

His experience since leaving the Labour Party has taught him the importance of having an established party structure:

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ICYMI: Chuka Umunna joins the Lib Dems

Embed from Getty Images

In case you had an early night last night and are wondering what’s going on, last night Chuka Umunna joined the Liberal Democrats.

Here’s the official announcement which came just after 10pm last night.

The Liberal Democrats are delighted to announce that Streatham MP Chuka Umunna has joined the party.

Chuka joins the Liberal Democrats, having held the seat since 2010. The Liberal Democrats recently topped the poll in London during the European elections and are extremely excited to gain this seat.

Commenting on his decision, Liberal Democrat MP Chuka Umunna said:

I have chosen to join the Liberal Democrats because it is at the forefront of a renewed, progressive and internationalist movement in British politics that shares my values.

Labour and the Tories are committed to facilitating Brexit, and Brexit makes ending austerity virtually impossible.  The Liberal Democrats are not – they were arguing for a People’s Vote and to remain in the EU from the very start.

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+++Breaking…Chuka Umunna joins the Liberal Democrats

 

 

In an interview with the Times tonight, Chuka Umunna announces that he has joined the Liberal Democrats and becomes our 12th MP.

Chuka said:

“Time and time again when I was speaking to voters around the country and in my constituency, people were saying, ‘Well, look, why don’t you just join the Liberal Democrats? Why don’t you all come together in the progressive centre ground?’ ”

So he has swallowed his pride and joined the effort to make the Liberal Democrats the spearhead of a “new progressive movement in this country”.

Urging others to join him, he said the party’s success in the European elections showed the potential: “I think we’ve got to grab the chance to fundamentally change the system for ever now. And if we don’t do so, I think history will be a poor judge of us.”

A hugely warm welcome to him.

I might be a little annoyed that the Mail on Sunday got it broadly right but I am happy to see Chuka join us.

Vince, who also took part in that Times interview,  said that more MPs could follow the Streatham MP to the Lib Dems:

There are lots of conversations going on, some more intimate than others,” the outgoing party leader added. “Chuka joining us today is a big event in itself but there may well be others. I’m not going to make commitments on others’ behalf, they will make their own decisions in their own time.

“We have a very, very good relationship with members of the independent group,” he added in a clear hint that other members of the breakaway outfit are considering joining his party.

He said that the approaching threat of a no-deal Brexit would drive as many as 20 MPs out of the Tories. “I think there are probably a dozen to 20 who have mentally crossed the Rubicon that they can’t stay in the Conservative Party in its current form.”

From what I’m hearing, the local Lib Dem party have been absolutely brilliant as all this has been unfolding. Helen Thompson, who was selected as PPC for Streatham earlier this year, has just tweeted:

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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.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 6 Comments
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