South Cambridgeshire MP Heidi Allen has been named interim leader of The Independent Group after they applied to become a registered political party today.
Mrs Allen defected from the Conservative Party in Feburary to join the group of fellow breakaway MPs, which has applied to become a party under the name Change UK – The Independent Group.
She will remain as interim leader until September, when a permanent leader will be elected at the inaugural party conference.
Speaking about her appointment, Mrs Allen 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.”
The group have moved to become a registered party to allow its 11 MPs – made up of eight former Labour and three ex-Conservative MPs – to run as candidates in the European elections between May 23 and 26, should EU leaders insist on delaying Brexit if the UK does not come up with an alternative Brexit plan before April 12.
Spokesman for The Independent Group, MP Chuka Umunna said: “We have been overwhelmed by the public support for our group since we were established last month, with tens of thousands or people all over the country signing up as supporters.”
“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.”