The former Labour MP, who will become the Liberal Democrat’s 12th MP, confirmed the move on his Twitter page, and said: “I’m delighted to say I’ve joined the @LibDems.” Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon Layla Moran tweeted: “So thrilled to welcome @chukaumunna to team @libdems!” Former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: “Fantastic news. Welcome Chuka!”
Commenting on his decision to join the Liberal Democrats, Mr Umunna said: “Labour and the Tories are committed to facilitating Brexit, and Brexit makes endless austerity virtually impossible.
“The Liberal Democrats are not – they were arguing for a People’s Vote and to remain in the EU from the very start.
“I am convinced the Liberal Democrats, as the spearhead of a broader, progressive movement in civil society, offer the best chance to improve the lives of those I represent, as well as countless other citizens in our country.”
Outgoing Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable said: “Chuka and I have worked together effectively for many months, campaigning for a People’s Vote and to stop Brexit.
“I know he will be a great asset to our party, not just on Brexit, but in fighting for the liberal and social democratic values that we share.”
This now becomes Mr Umunna’s third political party in four months, after he resigned as a Labour MP to join newly-formed Change UK.
But the party was hit with several setbacks, and suffered a disastrous result in the European elections, with none of its MEPs being elected.
Mr Umunna then became one of six MPs to quit the party shortly afterwards, whose future was immediately thrown into doubt.
When asked if he was looking forward to the reaction to news of his latest berth, the new Liberal Democrat MP told The Times: “I’ve got a pretty thick skin.
“You don’t leave all of the political security of what are the two main parties if you’re out for self-advancement.
“And I’m not sure what more I could do to prove that I’m not, not a careerist.”
Mr Umunna added he thought there were “millions of politically homeless people that wanted a new option on the ballot paper — I was wrong on that.”
He said: “I also think I vastly underestimated the importance of having an infrastructure and existing relationships with voters, which is a point that Vince had made to me long before I actually left the Labour Party.”
The former Shadow Business Secretary also admitted he had failed to account fully on how “unforgiving” the electoral system was to start-up operations.
Mr Umunna said: “Time and time again when I was speaking to voters around the country and in my constituency, people were saying, ‘Well, look, why don’t you just join the Liberal Democrats? Why don’t you all come together in the progressive centre ground?’”