Former Conservative MP Heidi Allen joins the Liberal Democrats

Remain-supporting former Conservative MP Heidi Allen now joins the Liberal Democrats with leader Jo Swinson hailing her as ‘an ally in the fight to stop Brexit’

  • The South Cambridgeshire MP has been sitting as an independent since June
  • Her defection to the Lib Dems takes the party’s tally in the Commons to 19 MPs
  • She said the other main parties had ‘turned their backs on the centre ground’ 

Former Conservative MP Heidi Allen has joined the Liberal Democrats, the party has said.

The South Cambridgeshire MP, who has been sitting as an independent since quitting the Change UK group in June, takes the Lib Dem tally in the Commons to 19.

Her move follows the recent arrivals of ex-Tories Sarah Wollaston, Sam Gyimah and Phillip Lee as well as former Labour MPs Chuka Umunna, Angela Smith and Luciana Berger.

Ms Allen, a committed Remainer, said she was joining the Lib Dems as the other main parties had turned their backs on the ‘liberal progressive centre ground’.

Former Conservative MP Heidi Allen (pictured) has joined the Liberal Democrats, the party has said

‘Now is the time to stand shoulder to shoulder with, not just alongside, those I have collaborated and found shared values with,’ she said.

‘Shifting to the extremes, the Conservatives and Labour have turned their backs on the liberal, progressive centre ground our country is crying out for.

‘As we face the monumental task ahead of stopping a damaging Brexit, healing the rifts in society and rebuilding the UK, there is only one party with the honesty, energy and vision to do that – and that is the Liberal Democrats.’

Ms Allen’s move was warmly welcomed by Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson.

‘She has long been an ally in the fight to stop Brexit, and having worked with her I know the energy and passion she will bring to our party,’ Ms Swinson said.

‘This once again proves that the Liberal Democrats are the strongest party of Remain.’ 

Ms Allen left the Conservatives in February, joining Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston in dealing a blow to then-PM Theresa May. 

She served a stint as leader of the new party, saying that fixing Brexit was ‘just the start’ of what the group wanted to achieve. 

However, Ms Allen joined a mass exodus from the group following the European elections and had sat as an independent MP before joining the Lib Dems. 

She had previously floated the idea of a full merger between Change UK and Ms Swinson’s party, then led by Vince Cable.  

The party, which was also beset by a bizarre row over its name, gathered only three per cent of the vote at the May elections. 

Ms Allen had been due to appear on BBC comedy panel show Have I Got News For You in the run-up to the poll, but the programme was pulled shortly before it was due to air over fears that it breached the broadcaster’s editorial guidelines. 

Her South Cambridgeshire constituency is usually a safe Conservative seat which she held with a majority of almost 16,000 at the 2017 general election. 

She first won the seat in 2015 after its previous occupant, former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, stood down from Parliament. 

Lib Dem leader Ms Swinson has been at the centre of a row with Labour over a possible ‘government of national unity’ to prevent a No Deal Brexit if Boris Johnson is defeated in a confidence vote. 

The Lib Dems have said they could not support Mr Corbyn as interim prime minister, but the Labour leader has refused to consider backing anyone else. 

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