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Heidi Allen addresses constituents as she becomes the interim leader of Change UK

“Brexit broke everything,” South Cambridgeshire MP Heidi Allen told a packed audience at Cambourne Village College.

MP Heidi Allen Q&A, Cambourne Village College. Picture: Keith Heppell. (8157691)
MP Heidi Allen Q&A, Cambourne Village College. Picture: Keith Heppell. (8157691)

The MP held at meeting with up to 200 constituents on Saturday, March 30 to discuss her move to the Independent Group.

Ms Allen has been appointed the interim leader of the Independent Group, after it applied to register as a political party called Change UK in order to stand in European elections.

The former Conservative MP said the group was “determined to unleash” a “fairer and better future for our country”.

A permanent leader for the group, formed of 11 former Conservative and Labour MPs alarmed by the Brexit process, will be appointed at an inaugural conference in September, when the main launch of the new party will take place.

Ms Allen said: “For those that don’t know I decided to become an MP in the back end of 2011. I was busy running my business with my husband and I never in my life thought I would want to be an MP.

“It was the riots in 2011 and I remember just staring at the news every night, watching another city descend into chaos, people throwing things through shop windows and pinching TVs.

MP Heidi Allen Q&A, Cambourne Village College. Picture: Keith Heppell. (8157697)
MP Heidi Allen Q&A, Cambourne Village College. Picture: Keith Heppell. (8157697)

“The country was in a real mess, debt-wise too. I thought I’ve got to do something because it felt like the country was in real trouble.

“I choose the Conservative Party because I was coming from business and they’d always seemed to me to be pragmatic and sensible party.

“I’d voted Conservative all my life and it felt like the right fit. When I got to Westminster, I was a bit shocked. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I was expecting to be told what to say or given a piece of paper or a speech to read out. Actually all parties act like that.”

She added: “In fact it was so tribal and unnecessarily tribal, you could have the best idea in the world but I’d tell you its rubbish because you’re on the other side of the House of Commons.

“That just seems wrong and wasn’t a good way to get the best solutions for the country.

“Brexit broke everything. It really ripped up the rulebook of these big parties

“Suddenly the biggest challenge facing our country for decades and the big political parties have just fallen apart, not looking at what the country needed and with all this in-fighting and battening down the hatches internally, they forgot the country in the middle of it.

“I knew no longer fit the mould of what they wanted.”

Ms Allen said although Brexit was the principal reason for quitting the Conservative Party, there were others including the government’s handling of the problems with Universal Credit.

“But if you are the most vulnerable in society with no financial resilience at all, you can’t afford credit on your phone, and you can’t get online to get access to Universal Credit. When there is a system that’s so inhuman and the government can’t see that, that for me was the other breaking point.”

The meeting followed Ms Allen’s first public meeting on the subject at Long Road Sixth Form College on March 16.

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