The Independent Group for Change has announced it will start ‘winding up’ as a political party following its general election failure.
Leader Anna Soubry has confirmed today that the party’s management council had agreed the ‘process for closing’ down and admitted it had been hard to ‘cut through as a distinctive political force’ since it was formed in February.
The party did not gain any seats at the General Election.
In an open letter to members, Ms Soubry said: ‘We need to be realistic and therefore we have agreed to start the process of winding up the party.’
‘From the outset we hoped more Labour and Conservative MPs would share our courage and leave their respective political parties. Sadly this was not to be.’
The party began when a breakaway group of Labour MPs including Chuka Umunna and Luciana Berger announced they had formed a new political movement called the Independent Group (TIG).
We came together & took a stand when others wouldn’t. It was right to shine a spotlight on Britain’s broken politics. But having taken stock and with no voice now in Parliament, we begin the process of winding up our party. Thanks to all who stood with us. https://t.co/QjViYXoQir
— The Independent Group for Change (@ForChange_Now) December 19, 2019
Those who quit Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party included Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith and Ann Coffey and they were soon followed by colleague Joan Ryan.
They protested against what they said had been a lack of action on anti-Semitism and a move to the left of the political spectrum under Mr Corbyn.
Known as the TIGgers as a result of the group’s initials, their numbers were boosted by the defection of three disgruntled Tories – Sarah Wollaston, Heidi Allen and Anna Soubry – with the MPs hopeful of creating a centre-ground and pro-Remain powerhouse.
But the group failed to take off following a dismal showing at the European elections and recriminations over its many name changes and leadership.
Five of its founders – Ms Berger, Ms Wollaston, Mr Umunna, Ms Allen and Ms Smith – would go on to join the Liberal Democrats after splitting with The Independent Group for Change.
Ms Soubry said the loss of those MPs dented the party’s ambitions but argued her cohort did manage to have an impact on British politics during its short existence.
She said: ‘I do not doubt Labour shifted its position to a confirmatory second referendum because of the courageous move made by Chris, Mike, Ann, Joan and others.
‘We called out the dangers of the Conservative Party’s no-deal Brexit and identified the drift in the party further to the nationalist right wing.’