As part of our continuing series looking back at people who, after a brief moment of fame, drifted into well-deserved obscurity, this week we’ll be looking at the so-called ‘Independent Group’ of MPs.
The group was formed in early 2019 by 11 MPs who left the Labour and Conservative parties, mostly over these parties’ approach to Brexit. Some of those leaving Labour also cited concerns about racism within the party, in particular the way people of ‘a funny tinge’ were treated.
The party was hailed at the time as a radical new force that was about to break British politics wide open and offer voters a third choice (not to be confused with the Liberal Democrats, the Social Democrats, or for that matter the Social and Liberal Democrats, that splinter group of Social Democrats who refused to merge with the Liberals in 1988).
Where are they now?
Following the acrimonious break up of the party immediately after Brexit, the MPs all decided to withdraw from active politics – some of them retiring, some going into business, others joining the Liberal Democrats.
Chuka Umunna now runs a sub-post office in Peacehaven, where he is known by residents for his constant irritation with customers who don’t realise they have to pay for jiffy bags at the other counter before they can use them to post things.
Anna Soubry retired in 2022 from her earnings on Have I Got News for You? and was last sighted on a yacht in Bermuda.
Angela Smith spends her time twitching her net curtains as she observes the residents of The Close where she lives coming and going. She believes herself to be a Daily Mail columnist, though in fact staff at the paper just laugh at the pieces she sends in and throw them away.
Luciana Berger became so self-important, she eventually collapsed under the weight of her own gravity, creating the first ever black hole in the Merseyside area (apart from Birkenhead). Soon after her death, a note was found saying that she had no idea how she was going to die but she was sure anti-Semitism would be involved, and insisting she be buried with a number of bodyguards.
Heidi Johnson (nee Allen) is happily married to former Prime Minister Boris Johnson and living in Surrey, where she sees him on alternate weekends.
Joan Ryan was a member of the Independent Group but no-one noticed at the time or since. Her whereabouts are unknown.