In February this year, The Independent Group was formed by MPs who are now independent from their previous parties but not independent of each other. It was soon rebranded to Change UK – The Independent Group, with the latter part of the name becoming increasingly less and less used. Poor performance by the new party in the European elections in May meant that 6 of their 11 MPs left to become independent of The Independent Group.
One of those MPs, Chuka Umunna, independently made the decision to join the Liberal Democrats. Then, on the 10th July, 6 days after US Independence Day, The Independents formed. The new group is composed of 5 MPs, 4 of whom were ex-Independent Group independents and one of whom is John Woodcock, a controversial ex-Labour independent who had always been independent of The Independent Group. One of the ex-Independent Group’s independents, Sarah Wollaston, chose to remain independent from The Independents.
So what exactly is the point of The Independents? The aim seems not to be being seen as a party, but instead as a vehicle through which they can cooperate when standing as independent candidates in a future election. They are not to be confused with parties that want independence from the United Kingdom, or with the United Kingdom Independence Party. They also do not appear to have any link to The Independent, the online centre-left newspaper.
To summarise, the group The Independents is composed of independent MPs, who are independent of other independent MPs, but not independent from each other. The group is primarily composed of independent ex-Independent Group MPs who are independent of The Independent, parties campaigning for independence from the UK and parties that are campaigning for the supposed UK independence from the EU.
The MPs forming the new group include:
- Anna Soubry, former barrister and ex-Conservative, and MP for Broxtowe
- Ann Coffey, MP for Stockport since 1992 and formerly of the Labour Party
- Chris Leslie, MP for Notti…
Wait, those are the MPs for The Independent Group for Change, formerly known as Change UK – The Independent Group, who are independent from independent MP Sarah Wollaston and the MPs of The Independents who became independent from them. Sorry about that.
It is crucial to remember that The Independents and The Independent Group for Change are independent of other splinter groups in the House of Commons, such as the Continuation Independent Group, Change GB, the Real SDP, the Independent People’s Front, the People’s Front of Independents, and Change UK (Marxist-Leninist).