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The Independent Group becomes 'Change UK' to stand in European elections

2 min read

The Independent Group has registered to become a political party in order to stand in the European elections if the UK is forced to take part in them.

The 11 former Labour and Conservative MPs, who quit their parties in February, will become 'Change UK - The Independent Group' if their application is approved by the Electoral Commission.

Britain is currently not scheduled to take part in the European Parliament election, which is expected to take place on 23 May, but may have to if there is a longer extension to the Article 50 process.

Former Tory backbencher Heidi Allen has also become the new party's interim leader, with a permanent one set to be elected at its first conference in September.

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.

"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."

TIG spokesperson Chuka Umunna, a former Labour frontbencher, said they had been "overwhelmed" by public support since being established, and claimed tens of thousands of voters had signed 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," he said.

"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 Streatham MP said they hoped to stand a "substantial number of MEP candidates with backgrounds from outside of politics" if the UK takes part in the European elections.

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