POLITICS
16/04/2019 16:15 BST | Updated 16/04/2019 17:30 BST

Change UK Forced To Fight Election Without Official Logo After Blunder

Candidates for the Independent Group of ex-Labour and Tory MPs will have a blank space next to their names, instead of the party emblem.

The Independent Group of breakaway former Labour and Tory MPs will be forced to fight the European elections without a logo despite being officially recognised as a political party.

The group successfully registered as Change UK – The Independent Group, but there will be a blank space next to its candidates’ names after the election watchdog rejected its emblem because it would be unrecognisable to voters.

Currently led by ex-Tory Heidi Allen, the party plans to fight the European elections on May 23, if they go ahead because Theresa May cannot get MPs to agree a Brexit deal in time.

But the campaign got off to an inauspicious start after the party’s logo, which spelt out TIG in white letters on a black background with #Change written underneath, was turned down by the Electoral Commission. 

The elections watchdog said it could not legally accept a logo containing a hashtag and that TIG would not be well known enough to voters.

A spokesperson said: “The emblem contained a hashtag, and we cannot assess the material linked to a hashtag, which will change over time, against the legal tests. The emblem also contained the acronym TIG, which we were not satisfied was sufficiently well known.”

The party has another month to submit an alternative design free of charge.

But the commission said there was “not enough time for us to consider it before the elections” and “there will be a blank space” next to candidates names on ballot papers. 

Empics Entertainment
Ballot papers usually display party logos alongside candidates' names

The party will launch its European Parliament election campaign next Tuesday promising to fight a David versus Goliath battle for a second Brexit referendum, at which it will then back remaining in and reforming the EU.

Commenting on the party’s policies beyond the EU, Allen told HuffPost UK last week: “We are starting with a blank piece of paper in every policy area, and we will build policy from evidence. We are literally starting again.”

Change UK has had more than 3,700 candidate applications and is now shortlisting and interviewing applicants for the 70 prospective MEP places.

Allen said on Tuesday: “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.”

Allen urged people to donate to Change UK to help it battle “the big established parties”, adding: “We are David, and they are Goliath - but we can do this together.”

HuffPost UK understands the party will try and work with the commission to try and get a logo on ballot papers for the European elections.

It will have a new emblem in time for its campaign launch on Tuesday.