Umunna’s decision to quit Labour and form new Independent Group divides constituents

Chuka Umunna’s decision to quit Labour and form a new Independent Group has divided his constituents.

The 40-year-old has been MP for Streatham in south London since 2010.

Speaking after he resigned from Labour and declared it’s time to “dump old fashioned politics”, some local residents in Streatham said they agreed with his damming statement – but others were wary of his political move.

Dental nurse, Lucy Arnold, 27, says she is a loyal supporter of the sitting MP.

She said: “I think it’s great and I think it’s really important to take a stand because I didn’t vote for the Brexit Jeremy Corbyn seems to represent – I voted for Chuka.

“I think if antisemitism is going on in the party it’s despicable and it should be called out, I really respect that.

“I would have always voted for Chuka over Labour because I really respect his policies on Remain and the People’s Vote.”

When asked if she would vote for him if he stood in the next election as an Independent Group candidate, she said: “Yes, I think I probably would.

“I definitely would agree that our politics is broken, there are a lot of politicians putting there own interests before the nation’s.”

But Stuart Birch, 50, who has lived in Streatham for most of the last 20 years, said: “I believe the seven MPs who have quit Labour and formed this new group should be forced to resign as MPs so we can have by elections.

“They were elected as representatives of the Labour Party, which they clearly do not represent now, so, in effect, they have been elected on a false premise.”

He added: “Umunna is a divisive character and I’m nor sure if he would be re-elected here as an Independent.

“Some people obviously like him, but Streatham has been a Labour seat for many years before he was MP, so it’s by no means certain he would be re-elected; that’s probably why he hasn’t resigned.”

Portugese national, Fatima Demony, 53, who has lived in south London for more than 20 years, said politicians should stop squabbling among themselves and focus on Brexit.

The administration assistant said: “I don’t think it’s the right time to be making such a drastic move or change.

“I know they disagree with other Labour party members, but I don’t think this is the right time to confuse things – it’s not fair.

“They should forget about what’s going on between themselves and think about the people and what it means when it comes to Brexit.”

The mother-of-two, who considers herself a disillusioned Labour supporter, added: “I’m from Portugal, but this is my home.

“My sons have British accents, but I’m scared about what the future holds now.”

But others walking along the high street this afternoon say they place little value on the MP’s shock announcement.

Andrew Gibson, 49, who works in local government said: “I’ve woken up to politics and it’s all a stage.

“I don’t think politics is broken, that’s Chuka’s opinion. Politics has always been like this, it’s always the same.

“It’s hoop-la, it just gives the people something else to talk about.

“I’d have a look at the new group’s policies but to be honest, I don’t have faith in any politician for any party.

“I work in local government and I see it at the grass roots, I know how central Government works.”

Personal trainer Martin Venear, 29, added: “Politics is all the same, I don’t think this new group will be any different – it just has a different name.

“I 100 per cent agree politics is broken. We have a Prime Minister making a balls of Brexit and they are have the interests of the upper class and rich in mind – not the working class.”

The Streatham MP is one of seven to leave the Labour Party yesterday.

By Isabel Dobinson

Corbyn calls for Labour defectors to submit themselves to by elections

Leave a Reply