South Cambs MP Heidi Allen among Conservative trio expected to defect to new Independent Group

Former St Albans district councillor Heidi Allen. Picture: Danny Loo

Former St Albans district councillor Heidi Allen. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

South Cambridgeshire MP Heidi Allen is among a group of Conservative MPs who could defect to the new Independent Group, with an announcement expected at 11am today.

BBC Newsnight’s political editor Nicholas Watt tweeted this morning to say there are strong rumours that Mrs Allen, along with fellow Tory MPs Anna Soubry and Sarah Woolaston, would be joining the group of Labour politicians who split from their party on Monday.

He said that an announcement is expected at 11am, prior to Prime Minister’s Questions at 12 noon.

MPs Chuka Umunna, Mike Gapes, Luciana Berger, Ann Coffey, Angela Smith, Gavin Shuker and Chris Leslie defected from Labour to form the group on Monday, with Joan Ryan joining them this morning.

Mrs Allen’s latest social media activity could hint at her defecting to the Independent Group, as she retweeted an article by The House, Parliament’s magazine about a new cross-party campaign.

In Monday’s piece, which she has penned alongside Labour’s Thangam Debbonaire and Liberal Democrat Jo Swinson, it begins: “We represent three different parties, three different parts of Britain, and three separate political journeys but we share a common goal: to make compassion the bedrock of our politics in Britain.

“We see value in our differences, not a reason for hate, and where we disagree over methods, we find compromise and common ground to achieve a goal that is bigger than each of us as individuals. This is a call to our colleagues, at what is a defining moment in Britain’s history and future, to join us in that endeavour and in so doing to sow the seeds of a more cooperative, co-productive, and compassionate politics.”

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Mrs Allen became South Cambs’ MP during the 2015 General Election and also stood for the role of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mayor – but she failed to progress to the final round of the internal selection process after a vote by local party members in January 2017.

She was re-elected in the snap General Election of 2017, and has strongly advocated remaining in the EU – calling for a People’s Vote over Brexit.