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How many MPs will the "Independent Group" have after the next UK general election?

On 2018-02-18, seven Members of Parliament left the Labour Party to form what they call the "Independent Group". Since then, one more Labour MP and three Conservative MPs have joined them. They have cited a variety of reasons for leaving their former parties, but all seem to be broadly centrist and pro-European in comparison with those parties' official positions. All of them support a second referendum on the UK's departure from the EU.

The last party split of this sort in the UK was the one that formed the Social Democratic Party. The SDP entered into an alliance with the Liberal Party, and gained considerable popularity but never very many seats. The two parties eventually merged to form the Liberal Democrats.

Is the "Independent Group" merely a splinter group, destined to fade into obscurity? Or is the time right for the sort of realignment in which it could thrive? We ask:

At the next UK general election, how many MPs will be elected who belong to the Independent Group, or some group or party having continuity with it?

"Having continuity with it" is defined as follows. As of 2019-02-20, let S consist of the 11 MPs described above. On each subsequent day, if there is an explicitly organized political party or group to which belong at least 2/3, and at least 4, of the MPs who were in S on the previous day, and which is not one of the other political parties existing on 2019-02-20, then that party or group is the new S. Otherwise there is no S then or on any subsequent date. We are asking how many MPs will be in S after the next UK general election. (If S no longer exists, that number is zero.)

The next UK general election is currently scheduled for 2022-05-05. There are any number of imaginable scenarios in which a general election might be called sooner, perhaps much sooner. If Parliament so decides, it could also be later. Resolution is as soon as the results of the next election are known with sufficient detail to determine how many MPs, if any, are in S. If there has been no UK general election scheduled by 2022-06-01, or if none has actually occurred by 2022-07-01, then the question resolves at that point, on the basis of the makeup of the UK parliament then. If the UK ceases to be a parliamentary democracy before resolution, resolution is ambiguous.

(The nominal resolve date is set for a few days after the currently scheduled date for the next UK election.)

In cases where the description above leads to unclear or obviously absurd results, the resolution of this question is at the discretion of Metaculus staff.


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