The Streatham MP, who quit the newly-formed Change UK following its Euro election flop last month, claimed he did not need to face voters over his party switch because they backed his anti-Brexit stance. Mr Umunna announced his decision on Thursday and held a news conference to explain his reasons for flipping between three different parties within the last six months. Ruling out a by-election in his south London seat, he said: “I represent the most Remain constituency in the country so they don’t have a problem with what I’m doing because they know what my values are and what I believe in and they know I want us to stay in the European Union.
“That might be why the Liberal Democrats at the European elections won every single ward in my constituency bar one and came very close to taking a seat in one of the recent council by-elections. I haven’t had people in the street having a go at me.
“There might be the odd Momentum Corbynite but I can live with that.”
Mr Umunna was embarrassed yesterday when several of his past statements attacking the Lib Dems re-emerged.
In one Twitter outburst, he said: “You can’t trust a word the Lib Dems say.” He also claimed he could not “forgive them” for “austerity”. But the former shadow business leader admitted he had changed his mind about the Lib Dems.
He said: “The easy thing is to sit in your comfort zone in a party that you know is doing the wrong things, that has changed beyond belief and not do anything about it because personally for you, that’s the best course.”
Mr Umunna ruled out ever standing as leader and declined to back either of the candidates – Jo Swinson and Sir Ed Davey – running to succeed Sir Vince.