Embarrassment for Change UK as party is forced to change its name again

Posted On: 
13th June 2019

Change UK has been forced to change its name once again to avoid being sued by an online petitions group.

Independent Group MPs before they split.
PA Images

In a major embarrassment, the party announced that it had applied to the Electoral Commission to be called The Independent Group for Change.

The move comes after Change.org launched legal proceedings against the group in April after it changed its name from The Independent Group to Change UK.

Change UK loses more than half its MPs in split after EU vote drubbing

Heidi Allen suggests Change UK may not exist at general election

Independent Group facing legal challenge over Change UK rebrand

A source at the organisation accused the party of trying to "capitalise on our brand".

In a statement on Thursday, the party said: "Under threat of legal action by Change.org, which would have involved each MP being sued personally, and with no time left to register a new party name to contest the (European) elections, our leadership at the time felt we had no option but to sign a legal agreement preventing the permanent use of the name Change UK once the campaign was over.

"We are now legally obliged to make a formal application to the Electoral Commission, to amend our name by 15 June, so today we are applying to register ourselves as ‘The Independent Group for Change' and will await the Electoral Commission's decision.

"We remain determined as a party to tackle the big issues facing the country. Preventing a disastrous no deal Brexit and fixing Britain's broken politics remain our absolute focus as we begin to build our new policy platform."

The row is the latest in a series of mishaps for the fledgling party, which was set up in February by 11 former Labour and Tory MPs.

It failed to get a single MEP elected in the European elections after receiving just 3.4% of the vote.

High-profile splits between its MPs led to six of its MPs quitting to sit as independents earlier this month.

Ex-Labour MPs Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger and Gavin Shuker all quit the party following a make-or-break meeting, as did former Tories Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen, who had been the party's interim leader.

Speculation at Westminster suggests at least some of them will join the Lib Dems.