TIG is dead. Long live CUK! The Independent Group has registered as a political party, “Change UK – The Independent Group”, in anticipation of the European Parliament elections next month. Heidi Allen, the former Conservative MP for South Cambridgeshire, has been named as its interim leader until a full election at the party’s inaugural conference in September.
Both the choice of name and leader – Allen was the unanimous choice of the party’s 11 MPs – reflect what TIG sees as its political raison d’etre: to act not as an adjunct to any of the existing parties but as a disruptive anti-system entity. Or, as Anna Soubry put it in the Commons this morning, “a new way of doing politics”.
Senior sources within TIG argue that Allen, rather than the group’s spokesperson Chuka Umunna or its convenor Gavin Shuker, best embodies that mission. First elected in 2015 after a career in business, Allen’s, TIG MPs say, is a “non-political background”.