South Cambs MP Heidi Allen quits Change UK
PUBLISHED: 16:23 04 June 2019 | UPDATED: 18:44 04 June 2019
South Cambs MP Heidi Allen has today quit Change UK after just 68 days in charge as the party's interim leader.
Mrs Allen - who only joined the group in February after defecting from the Conservative Party - is one of six MPs to quit the party this afternoon to become independents, alongside Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Sarah Wollaston, Gavin Shuker and Angela Smith.
She was named interim leader of Change UK - The Independent Group on March 29 as part of their bid to become a political party ahead of the European Parliamentary elections last month.
The party was subsequently approved by the Electoral Commission in April, but performed badly in May's European elections - failing to win any seats after polling only 3.4 per cent of the vote.
In a joint statement, the MPs departing the group said: "We are all immensely proud of the team of Change UK candidates and supporters who stepped forward to join us in making the unequivocal case for Remain in the recent EU elections. We believe Change UK boosted the campaign and turnout.
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"We are very grateful to everyone who has supported us over the past four months since we left our respective politcal parties.
"We believe that our priority right now must be to provide collegiate leadership to bring people together in the national interest.
"We know the landscape will continue to shift within the political environment and have concluded that by returning to sit as independents, we will be best placed to work cross party and respond flexibly.
"We wish our colleagues well as they continue to build Change UK."
Anna Soubry, who will take over from Mrs Allen as Change UK's interim leader alongside the party's four other remaining MPs, has criticised her colleagues' decision to quit the group.
"I'm deeply disappointed that at such a crucial time in British politics our former colleagues have made this decision," said the MP for Broxtowe in Nottinghamshire.
"Now is not the time to walk away, but instead to roll up our sleeves and stand up for the sensible mainstream centre ground which is unrepresented in British politics today."