Progressive Centre UK – the Think Tank Chuka Umunna chairs for £5,000 a month – appears to be in danger of going bust, putting Chuka’s very quality of life at risk. How can a man be expected to survive on a mere £80,000 MP wage…
According to their most recent annual report, the think tank is now worth less than £2,500 – with just £1,337 ‘cash at bank and in hand’. Perhaps the donors have tired of funding what is effectively Chuka’s own fan club. Three recent exciting events have all featured Chuka; at LibDem conference there was a chance to hear an interview with Chuka, listen to Chuka on “the causes of Brexit” and learn from him about being “progressive”. All reminiscent of Gordon Brown’s personal think tank, the John Smith Institute. There are however no upcoming events planned.
The centrist dad of the think tank world has faced criticism they’ve u-turned on their promise to publish their annual list of donors, supporters and partners. Normally this secrecy would raise eyebrows, but by the looks of things, Progressive Centre don’t actually have any donors…
Lib Dem leaflets famously always stretch the truth as far as they can. However this year’s cohort of letterbox literature includes a whole new level of post-truth statements. Makes tuition fees pale into insignificance…
Despite only just defecting from the Tories, Phillip Lee’s leaflets have performed a Stalinist erasure of his recent right-wing past. The leaflet implies the election is a close choice between the Tories and the LibDems, despite the LibDems coming 24,000 votes behind John Redwood in 2017, and 6,000 behind Labour.Moving over to Streatham, the Lib Dems hilariously try and explain that their current “popular local Lib Dem MP” – yes, that is Chuka Umunna they’re referring to – is “moving on at the next election”.
They fail to mention he’s carpetbagging over to the seat of Westminster because he doesn’t stand a chance of winning in his current seat when voters finally get their say…
Chuka took to breakfast TV screens early this morning (clearly having avoided last night’s singalong) to declare that “one thing I think you acknowledge, I’ve always wanted to stop Brexit, and that’s been the goal.”
… which would come as a surprise to the Chuka of August 2016 who declared “I don’t think [stopping Brexit] would be a good look for Parliament, the people have spoken. I think it would be rather patronizing to pretend that somehow we know better.”
Kevin Schofield is reporting that Labour-turned-Change UK-turned-Independent-turned-Lib Dem MP Chuka Umunna is abandoning his Labour safe seat of Streatham for the more marginal Westminster seat – currently held by Tory MP Mark Field with a 3,000 majority. The Lib Dems came 3rd there last time…
In a statement, Chuka has said:
“I’m delighted to have been appointed as the @ candidate for the Cities of London & Westminster. I relish the prospect of ensuring the constituency – which is a global symbol for open, liberal values– is represented by a party and an MP who will be true to those values.”
It’s been almost seven weeks since Chuka abandoned a heartbroken Anna Soubry for the Lib Dems. So a co-conspirator was surprised to receive a Streatham Lib Dems leaflet this morning not only making no mention of Streatham’s new Lib Dem MP but even featuring a lengthy section with the previous Lib Dem PPC for Streatham – who’s been unceremoniously shunted out as a result. Local activists not universally enthused by their new golden boy?
Poor Anna Soubry. She’s lost influence, friends, and will probably lose her seat.
She has poured her heart out to ITV’s Paul Brand “we made some terrible mistakes over leadership and I can tell you now that the problem was was that Chuka wouldn’t step up to it. And if Chuka had stepped up to it he would have been our leader, it was certainly …well I always assumed it was absolutely going to happen.
Paul Brand: Why do you think he didn’t?
Anna Soubry: You’d have to ask him that but he does have history of not stepping up. Very sad because he… to me he was absolutely the future for our country. I genuinely believe that, I wouldn’t have left my party if I hadn’t believed that.
PB: Were you trying to persuade him to stand as leader?
AS: Good God, yes. Goodness me yes. He should have been our leader and he wasn’t and then after the EU elections which were a terrific blow of course they were you don’t give up at the first hurdle, for God’s sakes.
PB: How did you feel when he joined the Lib Dems?
AS: I think he made a terrible mistake. I was genuinely really sad about that. For me it personally hurt, it really did hurt. I thought he was my big buddy. He was a major part of why I left the Tory party. To start something new with him as the leader, I don’t want to be the bloody leader I genuinely believe that Chuka Umunna should be prime minister of our country and had the – just what we were needing to be a great prime minister. I genuinely believe that.
PB: Have you spoken to him since he joined the Lib Dems?
AS: Unfortunately, he has never called. He has never called me. Which I think is very sad.
PB: The friendship’s sort of broken down then?
AS: Very sad. Very sad. We have exchanged emails but you now, you sort of, well I won’t go into it all but …
Watch her heartbreaking ITV interview in full and hold back your tears…