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“Thanks but no thanks”? Anna Soubry was thought to be joining the new Independent Group of MPs. Where is she?

All the talk last weekend was of Labour MPs splitting away from their party to form a new group – along with Conservative MPs and possibly Liberal Democrats.

We know that seven Labour MPs went through with their split – with humiliating consequences for all those involved.

What about the Tories?

Anna Soubry was thought to have been in talks with Chuka Umunna – did she miss the memo saying when it was all going to happen?

Or was the Conservative side of this just another smokescreen; another gesture towards rebellion that just didn’t quite make it into reality?

That seems more likely.

Until some Conservatives join Umunna’s Seven, it seems clear that we should add to the list of their failings a willingness to be deceived by Conservatives.

Tories who offered to join the Independent Group (or Gemini A Ltd, to give it its official title) have managed to speed a schism in the Labour Party. In public relations terms, this is a boost for their own party that remains (for now) intact.

And the ex-Labour independents should have seen this coming.

The Tories have, after all, a record of failure to go through with rebellion. And they have a record of dishonesty.

They are a party of liars led by a liar. Only a fool would expect them to honour a promise.


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