Umunna urges voters to join movement for ‘different kind of politics’

Chuka Umunna has called on voters to join breakaway Labour and Tory MPs in building a new "movement" that represents modern Britain.

In a sign that The Independent Group (TIG) will form a fully-fledged parliamentary party, the former Labour MP called for the public to "join us, and help us forge a new, different kind of politics for Britain's future".

Mr Umunna, who represents Streatham in south London, is one of eight ex-Labour MPs who have joined forces with three former Tories to form a new group in the Commons.

TIG does not have a leader or a detailed policy platform, however an Opinium poll for The Observer has put the group's support at 6% – a point ahead of the Lib Dems.

Meanwhile it has emerged that Sir David Garrard, once one of Labour's biggest donors, is supporting the new group.

Writing in the Sunday Mirror, Mr Umunna said the current political system is not working and the established parties are "broken".

The former Labour frontbencher said the two main parties had become "dominated by extremes", citing factional infighting in his old party and the influence of hardline Brexiteers in the Tories.

"This week we have come together in the national interest, to say 'enough is enough'. We have each put everything on the line to give something new a try. Believe me, it wasn't an easy decision for any of us," Mr Umunna said.

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(back row left to right) Chris Leslie, Gavin Shuker, Chuka Umunna and Mike Gapes, (middle row, left to right) Angela Smith, Luciana Berger and Ann Coffey, (front row, left to right) Sarah Wollaston, Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Joan Ryan, following a press conference for the Independent Group where the three Conservative MPs, Wollaston, Allen and Soubry, announced their resignation from the party.
File photo dated 04/10/16 of Tory MP Heidi Allen, who has resigned from the Conservative Party and joined the Independent Group.
(back row left to right) Chris Leslie, Gavin Shuker, Chuka Umunna and Mike Gapes, (middle row, left to right) Angela Smith, Luciana Berger and Ann Coffey, (front row, left to right) Sarah Wollaston, Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Joan Ryan, following a press conference for the Independent Group where the three Conservative MPs, Wollaston, Allen and Soubry, announced their resignation from the party.
File photo dated 20/10/18 of MP Sarah Wollaston, who has resigned from the Conservative Party and joined the Independent Group of MPs.
Chuka Umunna and Angela Smith (foreground) with Gavin Shuker, Ann Coffey, Mike Gapes and Chris Leslie (background) leave One Great George Street in London, following a press conference for the Independent Group where three Conservative MPs, Sarah Woollaston, Heidi Allen and Anna Soubry, announced their resignation from the party.
File photo dated 15/01/91 of MP Anna Soubry, who has resigned from the Conservative Party and joined the Independent Group of MPs.
Chris Leslie (standing), Angela Smith and Mike Gapes (right), who were among the seven MPs to quit Labour to sit as an independent group, in the seats next to the DUP during health questions in the House of Commons, London.
Conservative MPs (left to right) Sarah Wollaston, Anna Soubry and Heidi Allen, during a press conference at One Great George Street in London, following the announcement that they have resigned from the Conservative Party and joined the Independent Group of MPs.
File photo dated 05/06/2008 of Labour MP Joan Ryan, who has announced she is quitting the party and will join the Independent Group in the House of Commons.
Britain's Labour Party MP Chuka Umunna arrives at a news conference in London, Britain, February 18, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Britain's Labour Party MP Chuka Umunna makes an announcement he is leaving the party, in London, Britain, February 18, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Britain's Labour Party MP Luciana Berger arrives at a news conference in London, Britain, February 18, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Labour's Brexit stance and its handling of antisemitism has resulted in seven lawmakers leaving the party.
REFILE - QUALITY REPEAT Britain's Labour Party MP Gavin Shuker makes an announcement he is leaving the party, in London, Britain, February 18, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Former Labour party MPs Ann Coffey (Centre L), and Chuka Umunna arrive to speak at a press conference in London on February 18, 2019, where they and colleagues announced their resignation from the Labour Party, and the formation of a new independent group of MPs. - Seven MPs from Britain's opposition Labour Party on Monday announced they were breaking away and forming an independent group in protest at the party's support for Brexit and its failure to stamp out anti-Semitism. (Photo by Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Chuka Umunna, U.K. lawmaker, gestures while speaking during a news conference announcing his resignation from the main U.K. opposition Labour Party in London, U.K., on Monday, Feb. 18, 2019. Umunna is one of seven members of Parliament saying they will stand as independents after quitting the Labour Party over issues including Brexit and antisemitism. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Former Labour party MP Luciana Berger (C), arrives with MPs Chris Leslie (3R), Angela Smith (2R) and Gavin Shuker, to speak at a press conference in London on February 18, 2019, where they announced their resignation from the Labour Party, and the formation of a new independent group of MPs. - Seven MPs from Britain's opposition Labour Party on Monday announced they were breaking away and forming an independent group in protest at the party's support for Brexit and its failure to stamp out anti-Semitism. (Photo by Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Labour MP Angela Smith who has announced her resignation during a press conference at County Hall in Westminster, London, along with a group of six other Labour MPs, including, Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna, Gavin Shuker, Chris Leslie and Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey (not present) and who will be known as the Independent Group.
Labour MP Mike Gapes who has announced his resignation during a press conference at County Hall in Westminster, London, along with a group of six other Labour MPs, including, Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie, Ann Coffey and Gavin Shuker and and who will be known as the Independent Group. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18: Labour MP Chukka Umunna announces his resignation from the Labour Party at a press conference on February 18, 2019 in London, England. Chukka Umunna MP along with Chris Leslie, Luciana Berger, Gavin Shuker, Angela Smith, Anne Coffey and Mike Gapes have announced they have resigned from the Labour Party and will sit in the House of Commons as The Independent Group of Members of Parliament. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Labour MPs (left to right) Ann Coffey, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie, Chuka Umunna, Mike Gapes, Luciana Berger and Gavin Shuker after they announced their resignations during a press conference at County Hall in Westminster and the creation of a new Independent Group in the House of Commons, in the most significant split in British politics since the breakaway of the Social Democratic Party in the 1980s.
Labour MPs (left to right) Chris Leslie (Ann Coffey, Angela Smith, (both hidden left), Gavin Shuker, Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna and Mike Gapes, after they announced their resignations during a press conference at County Hall in Westminster and the creation of a new Independent Group in the House of Commons, in the most significant split in British politics since the breakaway of the Social Democratic Party in the 1980s.
Labour MP Chuka Umunna speaks during a press conference at County Hall in Westminster, London where, along with a group of six other Labour MPs, including, Chris Leslie, Luciana Berger, Gavin Shuker, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey, announced his resignation from the Labour Party and the formation of a new political party, which will be known as the Independent Group.
Luciana Berger MP arrives at a press conference at County Hall in Westminster, London where she announced her resignation from the Labour party and the formation of a new political party, which will be known as the Independent Group, with six other Labour MPs who have also resigned today.
Luciana Berger stands with other Labour MPs, (left to right) Chuka Umunna, Chris Leslie, Mike Gapes and Gavin Shuker, following a press conference at County Hall in Westminster, London, where they and Angela Smith and Ann Coffey, resigned from the party to create a new Independent Group in the House of Commons, in the most significant split in British politics since the breakaway of the Social Democratic Party in the 1980s.
Labour MP Angela Smith leaves County Hall in Westminster, London where she announced her resignation from the Labour party, and the creation of a new Independent Group in the House of Commons, with six other Labour MPs who have also resigned today.
Labour MP Luciana Berger following a press conference at County Hall in Westminster, London, where along with a group of six other Labour MPs, including, Chuka Umunna, Mike Gapes, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie, Ann Coffey and Gavin Shuker, resigned from the party to create a new Independent Group in the House of Commons, in the most significant split in British politics since the breakaway of the Social Democratic Party in the 1980s.
Labour MP Luciana Berger speaks as she announces her resignation during a press conference at County Hall in Westminster, London, along with a group of six other Labour MPs, including, Chuka Umunna, Mike Gapes, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie, Ann Coffey and Gavin Shuker, and the formation of a splinter group which will be known as the Independent Group.
Labour MPs (left to right) Ann Coffey, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie, Mike Gapes, Luciana Berger, Gavin Shuker and Chuka Umunna after they announced their resignations during a press conference at County Hall in Westminster, to create a new Independent Group in the House of Commons.
Labour MPs Angela Smith and Gavin Shuker, listen to Chuka Umunna answering questions, after they and Luciana Berger, Mike Gapes and Chris Leslie announced their resignations during a press conference at County Hall in Westminster, and the formation of a new political party, which will be known as the Independent Group.
Labour MP Mike Gapes who has announced his resignation during a press conference at County Hall in Westminster, London, along with a group of six other Labour MPs, including, Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie, Ann Coffey and Gavin Shuker and and who will be known as the Independent Group.
Labour MP Ann Coffey who has announced her resignation during a press conference at County Hall in Westminster, London, along with a group of six other Labour MPs, including, Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie and Mike Gapes and Gavin Shuker and who will be known as the Independent Group.
Labour MP Gavin Shuker who has announced his resignation during a press conference at County Hall in Westminster, London, along with a group of six other Labour MPs, including, Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie and Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey (not present) and who will be known as the Independent Group.
Labour MP Angela Smith who has announced her resignation during a press conference at County Hall in Westminster, London, along with a group of six other Labour MPs, including, Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna, Gavin Shuker, Chris LeslieAngela Smith and Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey (not present) and who will be known as the Independent Group.
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"We don't yet know the destination where the path we've taken will lead us. But what me and my Independent Group colleagues are absolutely clear about is that we cannot and must not re-create the old parties with their tribalism and incompetence.

"As we embark on this new chapter, most importantly we want you to help us build a new movement, and we're keen to hear from you. Join us, and help us forge a new, different kind of politics for Britain's future."

TIG's MPs all campaigned for Britain to remain in the EU, while Mr Ummuna has been a prominent supporter of a so-called People's Vote.

The former shadow business secretary and Labour leadership contender has been described the "obvious" candidate to lead TIG in the Commons, where the 11-strong group equals the Lib Dems in size and outnumbers the DUP by one.

There has been continued speculation that more Labour and Tory MPs will quit and potentially join the new group in the coming days and weeks as Brexit comes to a head.

The departures already mark the biggest parliamentary schism since the formation of the Social Democratic Party in the 1980s.

However, many of TIG's MPs will face a huge challenge if they want to hold on to their seats in a future election.

Tory breakaway Anna Soubry saw Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and several members of his shadow cabinet stage a rally in her Broxtowe constituency on Saturday.

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said MPs who left Labour had "betrayed" their seats and will be defeated if elections are held.

Fighting for seats in a general election will require significant funding, although TIG has already attracted support from major donors who have abandoned the main parties in recent months.

Mr Umunna told The Times on Saturday that the group had already raised "tens of thousands of pounds from several thousand small donors".

And on Sunday Sir David told The Observer: "I've been asked whether I will financially support the new group. I have already done so."

The property tycoon, who donated around £1.5 million to Labour over a period of 15 years, left the party in protest at the leadership's handling of the anti-Semitism row.

Pimlico Plumbers founder Charlie Mullins, who previously donated to the Tories and then the Lib Dems, indicated to The Times on Saturday that he could also give TIG financial backing.

"I believe that any money I put in to the Independent Group will be money well spent because I think Theresa May is destroying the economy," he said.

"This is about our children and grandchildren and the future of this country."

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