POLITICS
26/05/2019 13:11 BST

Heidi Allen Says Change UK And Lib Dems Could Form One Party

The Remain alliance could be on after all.

Change UK could form a single centrist party with the Liberal Democrats, Heidi Allen has said.

The party’s interim leader has also said that as many as 12 Tory MPs could defect and join the breakaway if a no-deal Brexit prime minister is elected in the Tory leadership race. 

Her comments come after Change UK MP Chuka Umunna said they should form a pact not to stand against each other’s candidates in the next general election.

Allen, who left the Conservatives to join other breakaway Tory and Labour MPs, said she would go “one step further” than her party spokesman.

“I would like us to be in the same vehicle,” she told BBC Radio 5 Live.

Asked if she meant the same party, Allen replied: “Yeah, probably, I don’t know. This partisan thing completely passes me by and when I look across Europe, they seem to do pretty well with coalitions.

“I don’t know what the format will be, but will we be singing from the same hymn sheet? I would hope as a collective, let’s call us a collective, somewhere in the middle with other like-minded colleagues.

“I don’t think it’s sensible to be too prescriptive at the moment.”

In a separate interview with the Independent, Allen said that if Boris Johnson or Dominic Raab were to emerge victorious in the Conservative Party leadership contest, it would be a “serious wake-up call” to her former Tory colleagues. 

She said: “On the Tory side I know if Boris or Dominic Raab or a character of that Brexit persuasion is chosen, that’s serious wake-up time for a lot of my colleagues on the Tory benches and they don’t hide that,” she said.

Allen said to be a “real insurgent force”, the alliance needs to be “brand new” rather than a larger Liberal Democrat Party.

Last week, she admitted she had threatened to quit in an internal row over tactical voting to maximise the pro-Remain challenge to Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.

But on Sunday she indicated all MPs within the party are moving towards a closer relationship with the Liberal Democrats.

“I think we are sensible enough to know we can’t do it on our own,” she said.

“Are we at different stages on the continuum? Of course we are, because everybody’s different.

“But do we all agree that the long goal is something centrist together? Then, yes, we are all on that same path.”

Allen said she thinks more Tory MPs could desert the party if Boris Johnson becomes prime minster, while Labour MPs may also defect if Jeremy Corbyn continues to refuse to commit to a second referendum.

Former Labour MP Umunna told BBC Radio 4′s Today Programme on Saturday that he thought a pact with the Liberal Democrats would be “sensible”.

He said: “I personally don’t think we should be competing at a general election and, of course, whilst we had a system of proportional representation at the European elections, it’s going to be first-past-the-post in a general election, so we have got to get our ducks in a row and work out what configuration is appropriate for 2019 and beyond, instead of just perhaps using the same model from the 1980s.”