Heidi Allen MP launches group aiming to unite Remainers at elections
South Cambridgeshire MP Heidi Allen is calling on her colleagues to “get ready to work together and not stand against each other”.
On Wednesday (July 10) the MP announced the launch of independent organisation Unite to Remain, which aims to optimise the Remain vote at parliamentary elections.
“Given the high likelihood of a general election soon, we must also begin urgent preparations to maximise our chance of returning to Parliament as many Remain-supporting MPs as possible,” said Ms Allen.
She will act as independent chair of the advisory council for the organisation as it was decided she was “best placed to knock people’s heads together”.
Last week, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party agreed to field a single Remain candidate for the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to bits that Plaid Cymru and the Greens have agreed to stand aside and let the Lib Dems be the lead candidate there. It’s the first test of concept and it passed with flying colours,” said Ms Allen, who returned to being an independent after leaving Change UK, having previously been a Conservative.
Unite to Remain fully endorses the candidate, Lib Dem Jane Dodds, and has worked to generate meaningful financial support directly for the party’s campaign
in the area.
It will also offer polling, as well as other indirect informational and logistical support for the wider Remain cause, both during the campaign and after.
In preparation for a general election, seats will be analysed to find out which ones would benefit from fielding a single Remain candidate, but Ms Allen admits that it will not work in all cases.
“But in those where we can make a difference by splitting the vote we will and that’s what this initiative is about,” she said.
“There is also the negotiation between parties and getting everybody to behave as grown-ups and behave as the public would like us to.”
Ms Allen said the threat of a no-deal Brexit had accelerated the need for people to work together and the reception had been ‘really good’.
She estimated that the organisation could help to return between 100 and 150 Remain MPs in the event of a general election.
But said she was aware that her own seat could be at risk should a general election be called.
“You never know until you get to the ballot box. My eyes are wide open, I’m putting my career on the line, totally,” she said.
“The potential to shift the debate in Parliament is massive. The other thing that excites me beyond that is, if we need it, this could be the beginning of a government of national unity, but it also could be the realignment of politics that people have been after.
“I’m a great believer that if you get the right people around the table anything is possible. I’m interested in fighting, I’m interested in solutions.”
Ms Allen added: “Our country is crying out for mature and progressive politics, not a government elected to pursue old ideology from the left or right. We need to work together to increase the number of MPs who can bring this aspiration to life.”
Unite to Remain can be found on Facebook and Twitter.
More by this authorGemma Gardner