June 13, 2019 / 10:10 PM / 3 months ago

Former Labour Party politician Umunna joins Liberal Democrats

FILE PHOTO: Member of parliament Chuka Umunna of Change UK appears on BBC TV's The Andrew Marr Show in London, Britain May 19, 2019. Jeff Overs/BBC/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - A prominent former Labour Party politician, Chuka Umunna, said on Thursday he had joined the pro-European Union Liberal Democrats, barely a week after he quit a new political grouping he had jointly formed months earlier to block Brexit.

“Labour and Tories are committed to facilitating Brexit ... the Liberal Democrats are not,” Umunna said in a statement released by the party, which has now increased to 12 the total seats it holds in Britain’s 650-seat lower house of parliament.

Umunna, a former business spokesman for Labour who clashed with its leader Jeremy Corbyn, was one of seven politicians who left Labour and joined six pro-EU Conservatives to form Change UK in February.

The political grouping was deserted by more than half its lawmakers, including Umunna, on June 4 after receiving little public support in European Parliament elections, which instead brought big gains for the Lib Dems and the new anti-EU Brexit Party.

Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by James Dalgleish

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