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Chuka Umunna: Good riddance.

A group of seven MPs has split off from the Labour Party – to gasps of relief across the United Kingdom.

The reaction is probably not what they wanted.

The group includes Chuka Umunna, Chris Leslie, Gavin Shuker and Angela Smith as expected.

Joining them are Luciana Berger – quitting before her Liverpool Wavertree CLP pushes through the “no confidence” vote that members have been readying? – along with Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey.

The group has released a statement but it seems its website is having teething problems – odd since it has been registered since 2015 – and I can’t really be bothered unless Vox Political readers are genuinely interested. Are you?

It’s much more fun to highlight the public response, which is primarily relief. The flood of comments yesterday (Sunday, February 18) when rumours spread that the split would happen today, speaks for itself. Some thought this was another publicity stunt and they would not go through with it:

Others pointed out the qualities of the expected splitters and the likely tensions between them:

The prevailing mood – especially in the case of Mr Umunna, was clear:

And some posted wish lists of other Labour members they would like to see split off – for a very obvious reason:

Mr Jeffery will be pleased to see Ms Berger and Mr Gapes among the splitters. Mr Gapes is also on Matt Zarb-Cousins’s list:

Speculation on what the “Independent Group” would represent has been overwhelmingly negative towards them:

And the departure will provoke comparisons with the “Gang of Four” who formed the SDP in 1981. That decision led to the formation of the Liberal Democrats, a party that apparently killed itself off as a national political organisation by forming a coalition with the Conservatives between 2010 and 2015. Here’s Martin O’Neill:

As ever, Tony Benn called it correctly – 38 years ago.

Last word goes to Liam Young:

Damn straight – good riddance.