Former Labour MP Angela Smith joins the Liberal Democrats in fresh boost for party
Former Labour and Change UK MP Angela Smith has defected to the Liberal Democrats, in another boost for leader Jo Swinson.
The member for Penistone and Stocksbridge’s move comes just days after ex-colleague Luciana Berger and former Tory minister Philip Lee joined the pro-EU party’s ranks.
Ms Smith, who has brought the Lib Dems’ total number of MPs to 17, said they were “the strongest party to stop Brexit”.
In a statement on Saturday night, she wrote: “I am delighted to be joining Jo Swinson and the Liberal Democrats.
“We need a more inclusive, tolerant politics for our country that values diversity.
“The Liberal Democrats are the strongest party to stop Brexit and build a society that gives opportunities to everyone, tackle the climate crisis and invest in our public services.
“We are facing a national crisis and people deserve better than the choice of the old two parties.
“I am relishing continuing my work with the Liberal Democrats to not only fight against Brexit but to also campaign for the constitutional reform needed to mend our broken politics.”
Ms Smith has become the fourth former Change UK MP to join the Lib Dems in recent months, following Chuka Umunna, Sarah Wollaston and Ms Berger.
The former shadow minister was among the seven ex-Labour MPs who founded the pro-EU outfit, which went on to endure a poor European election performance in May.
Ms Swinson said of Ms Smith’s defection: “In February, Angela made the brave decision to leave the Labour Party after over forty years of membership, because of the mishandling of anti-Semitism claims and Jeremy Corbyn’s stance on Brexit.
“Now, she follows Chuka Umunna, Dr Sarah Wollaston, Dr Phillip Lee and Luciana Berger in joining the Liberal Democrats’ rapidly growing Parliamentary team.
“We welcome Angela’s commitment to stopping Brexit, and to building a fairer, more liberal society.”
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe