As you know the Management Council convened today and we unanimously agreed to begin the process of closing down The Independent Group for Change. As you know more than anyone, we came together to form our party in response to the broken state of British politics. Last February, in order to do something about this, The Independent Group was formed.
From the outset we hoped more Labour and Conservative MPs would share our courage and leave their respective political parties. Sadly this was not to be. After the EU Elections our fortunes were further depleted when some of our original MPs decided on a different route. From that point onwards, it became harder for us to cut through as a distinctive political force in our own right – but we nevertheless believed it was important for us to have the courage of our convictions and to stand in the General Election so that our constituents would have a full choice.
Whilst there is clearly a need for massive change in British politics, now that we no longer have voices within Parliament, a longer term realignment will have to take place in a different way.
Honesty and realism are at the core of our values, and we therefore must recognise that the political uncertainty of recent months has now given way to a settled pattern in Parliament for the next five years. So this is the right time for us to take stock.
Our values and principles remain the same and they remain as essential as ever – but we need to be honest about what’s happened. We have no regrets about standing up and speaking truth to power when the country needed it. It was always better to have fought and lost than never to have fought at all.
But I want to be very clear about what we did achieve. My former Labour colleagues shone a spotlight on the state of the Labour Party, exposing how it had moved to the hard left and was tolerating anti-semitism. I do not doubt Labour shifted its position to a confirmatory second referendum because of the courageous move made by Chris, Mike, Ann, Joan and others. We called out the dangers of the Conservative Party’s no-deal Brexit and identified the drift in the party further to the nationalist right wing.
But as I say, we need to be realistic and therefore we have agreed to start the process of winding up the party. We have ended your monthly subscription and are beginning the process of closing down our office and organisation. We will contact the Electoral Commission to de-register as a political party.
We remain hopeful and positive about the case for a future realignment in British politics and would urge you to continue to be active in advocating our values for the longer term.
In the meantime I want to thank my dear friends and colleagues Chris Leslie, Mike Gapes, Joan Ryan and Ann Coffey for their wisdom, advice and courage.
Thank you to everyone who stood in the EU Elections and everyone who worked on the campaign. Thank you to those of you who helped in the recent General Election campaign and who have been active in forming local groups.
And finally a thank you to Sian and Sophie and the many others who were there from the beginning for their hard work, dedication and sacrifice.
With all good wishes,