Amber Rudd joins growing list of MPs to change affiliation since 2017

More than one in ten MPs have changed their party in the current parliament after Amber Rudd quit the Cabinet and became an independent and Angela Smith joined the Liberal Democrats.

Figures show that 73 members have changed party affiliation – including becoming independent or joining a new party – since Theresa May was elected with a minority government in 2017.

Much of the chopping and changing has come about due to Brexit, with the Conservatives suspending 21 MPs after defying the whip to vote against a no-deal Brexit this week.

Prime Minister’s Questions
Prime Minister’s Questions

Those newly designated independents include former chancellors Philip Hammond and Ken Clarke.

Seven MPs who left the Labour party to form an Independent Group owing to concerns about anti-Semitism in the party and Brexit are also included within this tally, as is Chuka Ummuna’s switch from Change UK to independent and then to Liberal Democrat.

The last Parliament, where Theresa May held a majority of 16, only saw six changes of party including sole Ukip MP Douglas Carswell becoming an independent, while the 2010-15 Parliament saw 18 changes of party including Mr Carswell and Mark Reckless becoming Ukip’s first MPs.