NEWS
01/03/2019 00:01 GMT | Updated 01/03/2019 08:23 GMT

Chuka Umunna Named 'Group Spokesperson' Of Breakaway 'Independent Group' Of MPs

The group has no formal leader but ex-Labour frontbencher's title suggests prominent role.

Former Labour frontbencher Chuka Umunna has been named as the spokesman for the Independent Group (TIG) of breakaway MPs.

In an indication the 11-strong group of former Labour and Tory MPs expects further defections, Sarah Wollaston has been given responsibility for “new colleagues”.

The group does not have a formal leader but Umunna’s role as “group spokesperson” suggests he will play a crucial role for TIG as it seeks to build its profile.

Umunna said: “Our team is diverse and drawn from different backgrounds, including a former teacher, social worker, lecturer, entrepreneur, solicitor and GP.

“We intend to draw on all the talents and experiences of our group, as we seek to change politics and give the British people a proper alternative to the broken politics being offered by the main political parties.

“We are not a political party and therefore do not have a leader, but the roles and responsibilities we have assigned recognise that all the members of our group have the right to be heard and a responsibility to provide leadership.

“Our structure is designed to be flexible to accommodate any changes as the group evolves and grows.”

The group agreed the following roles for its members:

  • Heidi Allen: welfare and pensions, social care, and business
  • Luciana Berger: home affairs, health, and digital and culture
  • Ann Coffey: children and education
  • Mike Gapes: foreign affairs and defence
  • Chris Leslie: Treasury and trade
  • Joan Ryan: group business manager and international development
  • Gavin Shuker: group convener
  • Angela Smith: transport, local government and housing, and energy, environment and rural affairs
  • Anna Soubry: Brexit and justice (and assisting on defence)
  • Chuka Umunna: group spokesperson, Cabinet Office, and government policy coordination
  • Sarah Wollaston - new colleagues

Three former Tory MPs and eight ex-labour parliamentarians are now in the new Independent Group.

This number equals the number of Lib Dem MP’s in Parliament and more than the DUP.