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Can Change UK Break Up the British Two-Party System?

The Revolution Isn’t Here Just Yet

Members of The Independent Group at a news conference in London, February 2019 Simon Dawson / REUTERS

The historian Richard Hofstadter once observed that “third parties are like bees: once they have stung, they die.” The United Kingdom has just got itself a new party, Change UK. And in some polls, the new outfit comes in third place behind the Conservatives and Labour. The question is, who will feel the sting?

On February 20, seven MPs left the Labour Party. Another joined them that evening. The next day, three MPs announced that they were crossing the floor from the governing Conservative Party to join what was then called The Independent Group. In March, the group turned itself into a political party, Change UK. The new band had an early success when Labour announced that it would (hesitantly) back a second referendum on EU membership, one of The Independent Group’s main demands. But it has now been six weeks since the TIGs announced themselves as a new political

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