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Breakaway pro-EU MPs formally set up new party to fight Euro elections

The Independent Group of ex-Labour and Tory MPs has registered Change UK with the Electoral Commission.

Independent Group members, Chris Leslie, Gavin Shuker, Chuka Umunna and Mike Gapes, (middle row, left to right) Angela Smith, Luciana Berger and Ann Coffey, (front row, left to right) Sarah Wollaston, Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Joan Ryan (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Independent Group members, Chris Leslie, Gavin Shuker, Chuka Umunna and Mike Gapes, (middle row, left to right) Angela Smith, Luciana Berger and Ann Coffey, (front row, left to right) Sarah Wollaston, Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Joan Ryan (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The Independent Group formed by breakaway ex-Labour and Tory MPs has become a fully fledged political party and will fight the European elections.

The new party, Change UK – The Independent Group, will stand on a pro-EU platform calling for a second referendum.

The party claims to have had more than 3,700 applications from people wanting to stand as Change UK candidates in the March 23 poll and it has begun the process of shortlisting and interviewing potential MEPs.

This is a fight for Britain’s voice in Europe – and we have been overwhelmed by the thousands of people wanting to roll up their sleeves and join our campaign from every walk of life and every corner of the country Heidi Allen

Some 70 candidates will be fielded by the party after it completed the registration process with the Electoral Commission.

But the party’s proposed logo – the letters TIG with #Change underneath – was rejected by the elections watchdog because it was “likely to mislead voters, contains a link to online material”.

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The proposed Change UK emblem rejected by the Electoral Commission (PA)

Change UK’s interim leader Heidi Allen said: “This is a fight for Britain’s voice in Europe – and we have been overwhelmed by the thousands of people wanting to roll up their sleeves and join our campaign from every walk of life and every corner of the country.

“Change UK – The Independent Group have a clear message in the European elections: we demand a People’s Vote and, if it is held, all our MPs will campaign to remain in and reform the European Union.”

She pleaded for donations to a “fighting fund” to allow Change UK to challenge the established parties.

“We are David, and they are Goliath – but we can do this together,” she said.

The party will launch its election campaign on April 23.

PA

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