Home   News   Article

Heidi Allen appointed interim leader of Independent Group as it registers to become Change UK to stand in European elections


By Paul Brackley


South Cambridgeshire MP Heidi 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 Independent Group, back, from left, Chris Leslie, Gavin Shuker, Chuka Umunna and Mike Gapes, Middle, from left, Angela Smith, Luciana Berger and Ann Coffey. Front, from left, Sarah Wollaston, Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Joan Ryan
The Independent Group, back, from left, Chris Leslie, Gavin Shuker, Chuka Umunna and Mike Gapes, Middle, from left, Angela Smith, Luciana Berger and Ann Coffey. Front, from left, Sarah Wollaston, Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Joan Ryan

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.

But they have registered now in order to put forward candidates should elections to the European Parliament be held in the UK, in the event of a long extension to the Brexit process.

If they are, it is likely they would be held on Thursday May 23.

Any group wishing to put forward candidates must be registered as a political party with the European Commission. The close of nominations for Euro MPs is April 24, meaning there is “no guarantee” the party’s registration - as Change UK – The Independent Group - will be completed in time.

The group said all of its MPs will continue to perform their current roles

Ms Allen, subject to events in Westminster, is due to speak at a rally in Cambridge city centre this evening organised by the anti-Brexit group Cambridge Stays.

She said: “Today marks a huge step forward on The Independent Group's journey to becoming a fully-fledged political party, so I am delighted to have been chosen as our interim leader.

“If we are to deliver on our ambition to change politics for the better, it is vital that we attract support from people from every walk of life, every political background and none.

“Coming into the House of Commons from running my manufacturing business in 2015, I have seen with my own eyes how improved our political system would be if it harnessed the diverse skills and experience of our country.

MPs Heidi Allen and Gavin Shuker after the Independent Group's first meeting
MPs Heidi Allen and Gavin Shuker after the Independent Group's first meeting

“We in Change UK, as we hope to be known, don't just dream about a fairer and better future for our country, we are determined to unleash it through hard work, passion and shared endeavour.”

Ms Allen will also hold a meeting with up to 200 constituents on Saturday March 30 at Cambourne Village College to discuss her move to the Independent Group. Registration to attend can be completed online at https://heidiallen.co.uk/news/heidi-allen-mp-to-hold-constituency-meeting-30th-march.html. It follows her first public meeting on the subject at Long Road Sixth Form College on March 16.

Chuka Umunna MP, the Independent Group spokesperson, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the public support for our group since we were established last month, with tens of thousands or people all over the country signing up as supporters.

“There is clearly an appetite for an alternative to our broken politics which needs fundamental change, as shown by the disastrous Brexit process which has occurred under the watch of the two main parties.

“A new party will shake up the two-party system and provide people with an alternative that can change our country for the better. This is what Change UK will be aiming to do at any European elections if our application for registration is accepted in time.

“The Independent Group is a diverse group of MPs which reflects modern Britain, drawn from different generations and backgrounds including a former GP, teacher, lecturer, social worker, solicitor and TV presenter. We intend to draw on all the voices of our group in any European election campaign. We will seek to put forward a substantial number of MEP candidates with backgrounds from outside of politics.”

Read more

Heidi Allen interview: How I made the decision to quit Tories and my hopes for Independent Group

South Cambridgeshire MP Heidi Allen quits Tories to join Independent Group



COMMENTS
()


Iliffe Media does not moderate comments. Please click here for our house rules.

People who post abusive comments about other users or those featured in articles will be banned.

Thank you. Your comment has been received and will appear on the site shortly.

 

Terms of Comments

We do not actively moderate, monitor or edit contributions to the reader comments but we may intervene and take such action as we think necessary, please click here for our house rules.

If you have any concerns over the contents on our site, please either register those concerns using the report abuse button, contact us here.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More