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South Cambridgeshire MP Heidi Allen quits Tories to join Independent Group


By Gemma Gardner


South Cambridgeshire MP Heidi Allen has quit the Tory party to join the newly-formed Independent Group.

The MP confirmed her departure along with Conservative colleagues Sarah Wollaston and Anna Soubry in a joint letter to Prime Minister Theresa May.

Heidi Allen. (7305941)
Heidi Allen. (7305941)

Their letter to the Prime Minister says: “We no longer feel we can remain in the Party of a Government whose policies and priorities are so firmly in the grip of the ERG and DUP.

“Brexit has redefined the Conservative Party – undoing all the efforts to modernise it.

“There has been a dismal failure to stand up to the hard line ERG which operates openly as a party within a party, with its own leader, whip and policy.”

“We intend to sit as independents alongside the Independent Group of MPs in the centre ground of British politics.

It adds: “There will be times when we will support the Government, for example, on measures to strengthen our economy, security and improve our public services.

“But we now feel honour bound to put our constituents’ and country’s interests first…

“We will continue to work constructively, locally and nationally, on behalf of our constituents.”

The pro-Remain trio will join the new Independent Group - made up of eight Labour MPs who resigned from their party over its handling of Brexit and anti-Semitism.

The South Cambridgeshire MP had remained silent about the rumours she was leaving until today’s announcement.

Ms Allen has stood against the government during the recent Brexit votes and is a supporter of the People’s Vote, which would give the public a further referendum.

Cllr Bridget Smith, the leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, which was won by the Liberal Democrats from the Tories at the last election, said: “We welcome Heidi’s decision to leave a party with which she has seemed increasingly uncomfortable.

“South Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats will continue to work with Heidi on issues where we agree. It’s what the public expect and they are rightly frustrated when politicians put their party ahead of the national interest.

“What is of the utmost importance right now is that we continue to work to prevent Britain falling out of the EU at huge cost to our economy, to our NHS, to British and EU citizens and the most vulnerable in society.”

Ian Sollom, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for South Cambridgeshire, added: “The people of South Cambridgeshire can already see the problems that Brexit is causing at Addenbrooke’s and they understandably want to prevent damage to our world leading bio-tech, high-tech and other industries and to our world-renowned university.

“I am committed to working collaboratively with groups and individuals that share the aims of the Lib Dems, especially when it comes to Brexit.

“The public overwhelmingly think the government has handled Brexit badly and do not trust politicians to take the right decision. We must give the British public the final say over the deal with the option of staying in the EU.”

But one who is not about to join the new bandwagon is Cambridge’s Labour MP Daniel Zeichner.

“I’m very disappointed that a few colleagues have taken this decision,” Mr Zeichner said of the enterprise, “although not entirely surprised, as they have clearly been unhappy for some time.

“There are a wide range of views and opinions in the Labour Party, as there always have been. At a time when the country is suffering from a hopeless and aimless Conservative government, I am confident that the overwhelming majority of Labour representatives and members will continue to concentrate on building the alternative the country desperately needs.”



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