Independent Group facing legal challenge over Change UK rebrand
The Independent Group could be facing an embarrassing legal challenge after it changed its name to register as a political party.
The new movement - which was formed by 11 Tory and Labour MPs quit their parties last month - has registered with electoral watchdogs under the title: 'Change UK - The Independent Group'.
But the choice has prompted an angry response from online petitions group Change.org, which accused the new party of trying to "borrow our clothes".
The MPs lodged their application with the Electoral Commission in order to fight in European Parliamentary elections in May if there is a long delay to Brexit.
Announcing the move, interim leader Heidi Allen said: "Today marks a huge step forward on The Independent Group's journey to becoming a fully-fledged political party...
"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."
But the MPs suffered a blow when Change.org released a statement warning it would be "seeking guidance" over the "imitation" of its brand.
"Change.org UK or @UKChange, as we are interchangeably known, is totally independent of party politics, always has been and always will be," it said.
"It is said that imitation is a form of flattery. But the movement that we have built in the UK to win campaigns for ordinary people is ours - all 17 million of us.
"We are seeking guidance on the proposed use of our brand name by those reported to be setting up a new political party."
ANNA SOUBRY GAFFE
In a further embarrassment, Independent Group MP Anna Soubry accidentally got the two names mixed up as she addressed the Commons this afternoon.
A source at Change.Org said: "We have felt for some time that they are trying to borrow our clothes - their language is very smiliar to ours.
"Their announcement today was alarming, and when Anna Soubry got up in the Commons and said she was a Change MP, that crossed a line.
"Not only are they trying to wear our clothes, they're trying to capitalise on our brand."
They added: "We are seeking legal advice and we're also contacting the Electoral Commission to raise our concerns. We're very unhappy about this."
Ms Allen is set to lead the group until Septermber, when a permanent leader will be chosen at its first party conference.