Chuka UmunnaChuka Umunna is joining the Liberal Democrats and admitted he was wrong to believe there was a need for a new political party in the centre ground of British politics.

The MP for Streatham in London, who briefly stood for the Labour leadership in 2015 and quit to sit as part of an independent group in the Commons in February, will become the Lib Dems’ 12th MP.

“I’m delighted to say I’ve joined the LibDems,” he announced on Twitter.

Outgoing leader Sir Vince Cable described him as a “formidable, serious political figure” and there is likely to be speculation as to him being a potential leader of the party.

Mr Umunna became part of Change UK which briefly promised to reshape British politics but split after taking just 3.4% of the vote in the European elections.

In a statement issued through the Liberal Democrats, Mr Umunna said: “I have chosen to join the Liberal Democrats because it is at the forefront of a renewed, progressive and internationalist movement in British politics that shares my values.

“Labour and the Tories are committed to facilitating Brexit, and Brexit makes ending austerity virtually impossible. The Liberal Democrats are not – they were arguing for a People’s Vote and to remain in the EU from the very start.

“I am convinced the Liberal Democrats, as the spearhead of a broader progressive movement in civil society, offer the best chance to improve the lives of those I represent as well as countless other citizens across our country.”

Sir Vince Cable added: “Chuka and I have worked together effectively for many months, campaigning for a People’s Vote and to Stop Brexit.

“I know that he will be a great asset to our party not just on Brexit, but in fighting for the liberal and social democratic values that we share.

“He joins alongside 20,000 people across the country just this month, demonstrating clearly that the Liberal Democrats are the biggest, clearest and most formidable force in the liberal centre-ground of British politics today.”