Heidi Allen MP: I heard 'nothing at all' from government before I resigned

The Independent Group

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Conservative leadership did "nothing at all" to reach out to Heidi Allen before she resigned this morning, the MP has revealed.

Ms Allen resigned from the Conservative Party on Wednesday morning, along with Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston, to join the Independent Group formed by breakaway Labour MPs on Monday.

Despite the media frenzy surrounding her in the past 24 hours there was no attempt by the Government to reach out to her and convince her to stay, Ms Allen told talkRADIO's Ross Kempsell.

 

 

Ms Allen said: "I have had nothing at all. One Cabinet minister sent me a WhatsApp message saying 'I hope it’s not true, we need you in the party, but that is literally it.

"I had an offer of a meeting with the chief whip this afternoon that came through at around 11am, but judging from other colleagues that was a general Remainer tory meeting, I dont think that was specifically for me or about that topic."

 

'A blank sheet of paper'

Heidi Allen MP speaking today. Image: Getty.

Ms Allen acknowledged there would be challenges for the new grouping, but said the Indepenedent Group offered an exciting new opportunity to the British public, and that she had already received a "really, really encouraging" response from her own South Cambridge constituents.

“The point is if we as a group, and we hope other colleagues from all parties can join, not just from Labour and Conservatives, if we can knock it around and find a compromise, then that tells me there’s a really good chance that we can sell it to the British public, because that’s what the British public want- fairness, economic competence and a policy that sits somewhere in between the two," she said.

She added: “What is really important: this is a blank sheet of paper, I’m not a Conservative, Chuka’s not Labour, if people came from the Lib Dems then this wouldn’t be the Liberal Democrats Version 2.

“We’re an independent grouping that will coalesce to form a party. We need to come without baggage.”

 

The group’s members are all united in their opposition to Brexit, with Chuka Umunna and Anna Soubry acting as leading figures in the People’s Vote Campaign, and Ms Allen confirmed that Brexit remained the group’s current priority.

She said: “We need to get Brexit dealt with first. Our attention so far has been on making sure the amendment created by Yvette Cooper and Oliver Letwin is successful and the intelligence we have so far is that if we’re put in an opportunity to present that then it will be and ministers will back it.”