This week a group of MPs decided to come together around a straightforward proposition – the current political system isn’t working and the established parties are broken, so let’s start doing politics differently and start serving the public again.
The Independent Group comes from a wide diversity of backgrounds, including a former lecturer, social worker, solicitor, entrepreneur, a GP and a church leader.
We represent regions across the country, and in contrast to the heavily male-dominated Conservative and Labour Parties in Parliament, I’m proud that two thirds of our group is female.
Where the established parties are out of touch and remote from people’s everyday lives, we’re a group of ordinary people who are seeking to do something which Westminster has forgotten how to do – represent modern Britain.
What has this meant in practice? Where the parties used to represent a diversity of traditions, they’ve become dominated by their extremes.
The Tories have morphed into ‘Blukip’ where Jacob Rees Mogg’s ERG hold all the cards and the proud One Nation tradition has been lost.
With Labour, we’ve seen disgraceful antisemitism flourish in a climate where no criticism of the party leadership is tolerated.
And, in general, people feel they have to settle for voting for the least worst option or simply to make sure the other lot don’t get in.
Many still vote for the established parties not because they want to but because they feel they have to.
And whether you voted Leave or Remain in 2016, the Brexit process has shown up the failure of both Labour and the Tories, and has left no one happy with what’s being delivered in the voters’ name.
This week we have come together in the national interest, to say ‘enough is enough’.
We have each put everything on the line to give something new a try. Believe me, it hasn’t been an easy decision for any of us.
We don’t yet know the destination where the path we’ve taken will lead us. But what me and my Independent Group colleagues are absolutely clear about is that we cannot and must not re-create the old parties with their tribalism and incompetence.
As we embark on this new chapter, most importantly we want you to help us build a new movement, and we’re keen to hear from you.
Join us, and help us forge a new, different kind of politics for Britain’s future.