A Short History Of Change UK’s Blunder-Filled Four Months

Every toe-curling moment.
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Six Change UK MPs have dramatically quit the party – just four months after they quit their original parties to form the group.

Among those to expose themselves as serial quitters were Heidi Allen – the party’s *actual leader* – and spokesman Chuka Umunna.

Also exiting stage left in favour of sitting as independent MPs were Luciana Berger, Sarah Wollaston, Gavin Shuker and Angela Smith.

So, not a great day for the five Change UK MPs still standing...

But if anyone can bounce back, it’s them. Throughout the party’s short history, it has faced blunder after blunder – but it’s still standing (kind of).

Here’s a reminder of Change UK’s most toe-curling moments.

*That* funny tinge comment

It’s fair to say that Change UK – or The Independent Group as it was at the beginning – didn’t get off to the best start.

Just two days after seven Labour MPs resigned to start the group, Angela Smith found herself in hot water after she appeared to describe BAME people as having a “funny tinge”.

The Penistone and Stockbridge MP later apologised, suggesting she had misspoken because she was “very, very tired” (which, as you might expect, didn’t go down that well either).

“I never meant to say that,” Smith said, insisting “that’s not who I am”. “I misspoke really badly, I was very, very tired at that point - I’d had six hours of press engagement and I was very tired.”

Soubry’s slip up

Fast forward a month and it was Anna Soubry’s turn to get tongue-tied. Just minutes after The Independent Group announced it was going to register as a political party, the former Tory MP got the name wrong in parliament.

Taking to her feet in the Commons to proudly explain why she wouldn’t be voting for Theresa May’s Brexit deal, Soubry said she was a member of “Change.org” (yes, the petition website).

“I’m delighted that the group that I have joined with members formerly of the Labour Party has formed itself into a new political party that will change the face and direction of British politics,” she said.

“That is why we call ourselves Change.org and that is what I believe the British people are calling out for.”

Soubry’s slip of the tongue could not have come at a worse time, with the actual Change.org already angry at the group’s choice of name. Oops.

The time Joan Ryan channelled David Brent

To be fair to Joan Ryan, her speech in the run up to the European elections can’t really be described as a blunder – but it was *excruciatingly* awkward.

Apparently possessed by the spirit of David Brent, the Enfield North MP told a rally in Bath: “Can you just look at your hands, please?”

“That’s it, it’s there, that’s the answer to this,” she continued. “It’s in your hands. So take your hands and get out there.”

Awkward, awkward, awkward. As you might expect, it took about two minutes before people started comparing Ryan to Slough’s finest manager.

The logo

In Change UK’s defence, branding is hard.

But people *really* didn’t seem to like the party’s minimalist logo – and it didn’t take long for comparisons to be made...


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