Chukka Umunna has lost his battle for a City of London seat despite a 13 per cent Remain-fuelled swing to the Liberal Democrats.
The former Labour MP and Change UK founder came second behind Conservative Nickie Aiken in the battle for the Cities of London and Westminster constituency, losing by 3,953 votes.
Mr Umunna, a former Labour leadership candidate, was once dubbed the ‘British Obama’ but faces an uncertain future after his defeat tonight after being unable to take full advantage of the constituency’s 72 per cent Remain supporter base.
Speaking after his defeat, he vowed to continue as a Liberal Democrat, having previously jumped ship from Labour and Change UK.
Chukka Umunna came second behind Nickie Aiken in the battle for the Cities of London and Westminster constituency, losing by 3,953 votes
He said: ‘We must respect the choice the people have made today, both to re-elect Boris Johnson and the Conservatives into government, and for Labour to continue as the Official Opposition.
‘I wish them the very best – it is in all our interests that they live up to the trust invested in them today.
‘In particular, congratulations to Nickie Aiken, the new Member of Parliament for the Cities of London and Westminster.
‘For the liberal, internationalist, pro-European, progressive, centre-ground of British politics, the Liberal Democrats still have a vital role to play, despite the disappointing results of this general election.
‘We will live to fight another day and learn from what has happened these last few months.
‘I will do what I can, albeit outside of the House of Commons, to contribute to that.
‘I said I had re-joined the party this year for the long term – I meant it.’
Tactical voting campaigns seemed to have failed Mr Umunna with the Lib Dems, Labour and Greens polling more than 25,000 votes together, against the Conservatives’ 17,000.
Previously MP for Streatham in London, his decision to change seats has proved an unsuccessful move.
He was considered Labour’s next great leader, an accomplished politician in the mould of Tony Blair.
Despite a 13 per cent swing for the Liberal Democrats, Nickie Aiken was able to defeat Chuka Umunna
But he dramatically quit the race to succeed Ed Miliband in 2015, citing ‘very real concerns and worry about this bid’s impact on those close to me’, despite being the front-runner.
In a statement at the time, Mr Umunna said: ‘One can imagine what running for leader can be like, understand its demands and the attention but nothing compares to actually doing it and the impact on the rest of one’s life.
‘Consequently, after further reflection I am withdrawing my candidacy.’
Sources close to Mr Umunna insisted that his withdrawal was not due to any negative story which he expected to appear in the media, although he was uncomfortable with the increased level of scrutiny which had been directed at him and members of his family, including his mother.
A polished media performer, the former employment lawyer’s background as the son of a Nigerian father and English-Irish mother gave him a different perspective on immigration.
He was popular in the Streatham constituency he represented since 2010 – a seat which voted nearly 80 per cent in favour of remaining in the EU – but opted to stand for the Cities of London and Westminster in 2019.
His centrist views often put him at loggerheads with Mr Corbyn, as well as with the legion of new, young Labour members.
Mr Umunna left the party for good in February 2019, one of a glut of Labour MPs to defect to the newly formed The Independent Group (TIG), saying the current party system was ‘broken’.
Critics within Labour said the defection was a result of him realising his dream of party leadership would be on ice while Mr Corbyn was in front-bench politics.
And within months, he defected again, this time joining the Lib Dems, despite previously posting on social media that he ‘couldn’t forgive them’ for austerity during their time as coalition partners with the Conservatives.
In the lead-up to the 2019 General Election, Mr Umunna predicted his new party could ‘get up to 100 seats’ in a forthcoming election.
However, his prediction has failed to comes true with the Lib Dems set to return.