Brexit failure: How Chuka Umunna’s botched Remain plan was torn apart

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The UK is attempting to secure trade deals and partnerships around the world. It is in preparation for its exit from the EU at the end of this year. Although Britain officially left the bloc on January 31, until the year is out, it will fulfil its financial and trade commitments.

Once 2021 has commenced, the UK will no longer have to pay into the EU.

Both parties are attempting to strike a trade deal.

If one such deal is unsuccessful, the two will trade on WTO terms.

Earlier this week, Chancellor Rishi Sunak agreed to develop closer financial links between the UK and Switzerland.

In a positive move, Mr Sunak signed a joint commitment with his Swiss counterpart, Ueli Maurer, to work on a new international financial services agreement.

And, further afield, last month, Japan’s Foreign Minister, Toshimitsu Motegi, and the UK’s trade minister, Liz Truss, agreed on an economic partnership to secure business continuity.

Brexit is inevitable now – but this has not always been the case.

Many Remainers and Remain-inclined politicians were adamant that there would be some loopholes in the process.

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Chuka Umunna, the Liberal Democrat politician who leapfrogged between a handful of parties between 2016 and 2019, attempted to outright stop Brexit.

He entered the world of Brexit with the Labour Party, shortly leaving to set up The Independent Group, later changed to Change UK – which confused many voters – with a disappointing spell there leading to his joining the Liberal Democrats.

Each of his moves were intended to make a place in the political spectrum for a party that would cancel Brexit.

Towards the end of his political spell, in 2019, Mr Umunna appeared during a Sky News interview.


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It was here that host Sarah-Jane Mee noted the extreme changes in policy within the Lib Dems since Mr Umunna’s arrival as having caused more unrest than what was previously present in the party.

She also pointed out a major flaw in the Lib Dems’ plan to revoke the Brexit vote.

Ms Mee said: “Do you think you’ve perhaps gone a step too far? Your policy on Brexit was clear, it was backing a People’s Vote or a second referendum, whatever people wish to call it.

“A lot of people are looking at the Liberal Democrats and saying, ‘that’s the only party that is showing unity on Brexit at the moment in terms of their thinking’.

“You’ve now got Liberal Democrat members saying you can’t cancel Brexit without officially having a second referendum without going back to the people again in that respect.

“You’ve just created unrest in your party where there wasn’t any.”

Mr Umunna responded: “The motion to have a policy of revoking Article 50 in the manifesto was overwhelmingly passed by delegates at this conference.

“Yes, there was a minority who disagreed with it but there was a clear majority for the policy.

“And we are having a People’s Vote in the form of a general election. If we’re elected after that People’s Vote we will immediately stop Brexit and that’s what people know the Liberal Democrats for.

“People have always known that is the goal. The means pending a general election has been a People’s Vote but obviously if you have a general election that is a People’s Vote.”

Mr Umunna went on to note an important aspect of the next general election is who the public want to be Prime Minister as he took aim at his rivals.

But Ms Sarah-Jane Mee asked if the Liberal Democrats divisive stance as an “anti-Brexit party” does the country any good.

She highlighted that Ms Swinson has spoken about uniting the country but each party has been put into a “far-right” or “far-left” category.

Mr Umunna said what unites the country is that the public are fed up with Brexit.

He went on to snipe at Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn as being “unfit leaders”.

Mr Umunna’s plans to stop Brexit failed.

He has since taken a back seat from politics.

He recently joined the board of the Slough-based software firm, Advanced.

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