Politics, Europe

Change UK launches EU election campaign

New political party says it became 'Remain Alliance' and will campaign for People's Vote on Brexit

Ahmet Gurhan Kartal   | 23.04.2019
Change UK launches EU election campaign


The Change UK, one of the newest British political parties, on Tuesday launched its campaign for the European elections due in May.

The party formed by 11 MPs who resigned from Labour and Conservative parties in February, which was previously referred as the Independent Group, says they had become a “Remain Alliance” capable of bringing together anti-Brexit voters from all political backgrounds.

Speaking in Bristol, interim leader Heidi Allen said they “left our political parties because they have let the country down.”

“And we’re not alone, with so many others doing the same from Labour, Conservatives and Lib Dems to stand as our candidates we are today the ‘Remain Alliance’ party for these European elections,” she said.

Allen said the upcoming elections are “a chance to send the clearest possible message - we demand a People's Vote and the right to campaign to remain in the European Union. We are not afraid to say it as clearly as that.”

She said: "This is no rebel alliance. This is the home of the Remain alliance."

Writing in Evening Standard, the Change UK co-founder MP, Chuka Umunna, called the elections “a historic turning point” for the British nation.

'Plain wrong'

“There are two paths open to us: one where we pull up the drawbridge, walk away from our friends and partners, and sink further into a politics of division; or one where we put an end to this bitterness, and embrace the openness and diversity which is the UK at its best,” Umunna wrote.

“That’s why these elections are so important.”

Change UK MP Anna Soubry said: "No ifs no buts, no backroom deals... we were never on the fence, we always believed it and now we demand it... a People's Vote."

"If MPs can change their minds and change their votes, so can the British people," Soubry said.

"It is undemocratic, it is plain wrong, to deny people the rights of this country that are enjoyed in Parliament," she added.

Rachel Johnson, sister of former Foreign Secretary and a staunch Leave campaigner Boris Johnson appeared at the campaign launch as a candidate for the party.

The U.K. will take part in the European Parliament elections, which are to be held in the last week of May.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has repeatedly warned that the U.K. should avoid taking part in the elections so her Brexit deal should be ratified before 22 May.

However, the House of Commons gave her a mandate to ask the EU for a Brexit extension. After long talks in Brussels earlier in April, the EU and the U.K. have agreed on an extension until the end of October.

The latest extension means that the U.K. will have to take part in the elections if the U.K. parliament fails to ratify the withdrawal agreement before 22 May.

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