Heidi Allen joins the Liberal Democrats

You kind of know when you get a WhatsApp message inviting you to a Federal Board briefing at 9pm that someone is about to be joining us.

I think most of the Board guessed right this time:

Heidi becomes the 19th Liberal Democrat MP.

To be honest, when I’ve heard her talk about people who are really struggling with compassion and empathy, I’ve felt like she’s one of us.

In an interview with the Independent, she says that another 20 want to follow her:

And Ms Allen, who has been sitting as an independent since quitting Change UK in June, said she was “absolutely” in touch with serving Tory MPs who shared her concerns over the direction the party was taking under Mr Johnson.

“I’m not saying everybody should casually resign the whip, but for me it was the right thing and I know that in other MPs’ hearts they know it’s the right thing to do,” she said. “There has got to be at least 20.”

Asked if she expected any to follow her, she replied: “I couldn’t say for sure that any will. I’d like to say yes, but one of the things that’s disappointed me most since I became an MP is the lack of bravery that there is.”

She said that voters were with us:

Ms Allen said: “There are an awful lot of places where compassionate, moderate, centre-ground, progressive voters have previously backed the Conservatives.

“The Tory party has completely turned its back on those voters and there is a real chance – with the Lib Dems offering that kind of politics – those seats could be lost to them.

“The most terrifying thing to me is that Boris Johnson seems to care not one jot about those voters or the MPs who have been loyal to him. His approach is to attack the Labour heartlands instead. But you win elections on the centre ground.”

In the official party press releases Heid talked about building a fairer and more compassionate future with the Liberal Democrats:

Confident that good progress has now been made on building a remain alliance through the Unite to Remain initiative, I recognise that as with most things in life, I am stronger and more effective when I am part of a team. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I know that the best way to serve my constituents and country is to join the Liberal Democrats.

Now is the time to stand shoulder to shoulder with, not just alongside, those I have collaborated and found shared values with.

Shifting to the extremes, the Conservatives and Labour have turned their backs on the liberal, progressive centre ground our country is crying out for. As we face the monumental task ahead of stopping a damaging Brexit, healing the rifts in society and rebuilding the UK, there is only one party with the honesty, energy and vision to do that – and that is the Liberal Democrats under the leadership of Jo Swinson.

My constituency is liberal and inclusive, bursting with innovation – I am so proud to represent it as its Member of Parliament. I have been bowled over by the support I have received from every corner of it. My constituents know we are stronger in Europe and they demand better for their country. They know that although there is a terrifying amount of work ahead of us, together, we can build a fairer and more compassionate future for everyone.

And Jo talked about her energy and passion:

I am delighted to welcome Heidi Allen to the Liberal Democrats. She has long been an ally in the fight to stop Brexit, and having worked with her I know the energy and passion she will bring to our party.

This once again proves that the Liberal Democrats are the strongest party of Remain. The best deal we have is as members of the European Union, and I look forward to working with Heidi in order to stop Brexit.

And Jo welcomed Heidi’s energy and passion:

I am delighted to welcome Heidi Allen to the Liberal Democrats. She has long been an ally in the fight to stop Brexit, and having worked with her I know the energy and passion she will bring to our party.

This once again proves that the Liberal Democrats are the strongest party of Remain. The best deal we have is as members of the European Union, and I look forward to working with Heidi in order to stop Brexit.

When an MP joins us, they become the incumbent and our sitting PPCs lose their positions. They have generally shown incredible generosity of spirit. Helen Thompson in Streatham, Hannah Kitching in Penistone and now Ian Sollom in South Cambridgeshire have been marvellous.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Chris Bertram 7th Oct '19 - 9:29pm

    About bl**dy time. What kept you, Heidi? Good to have you on board, the Tories left you long ago even before you realised it.

  • Ross McLean 7th Oct '19 - 9:56pm

    10 men, 9 women…. We’re getting there!! Welcome Heidi.

  • A good hearted West Yorkshire lass with a Cambridgershire constituency she might well retain. Let’s hope the party will now have something to say about welfare cuts and its associated cruelties and injustices. I well remember a passionate speech by Heidi Allen responding to a speech by Frank Field.

    Youtube Heidi Allen In Tears Of Grief – Video Results
    MP Heidi Allen fights back tears after Frank Field describes impact of universal credit2:22

  • Martin – Heidi is going to stand in South Cambridgeshire. It says so in her statement.

  • Chris Bertram 7th Oct '19 - 10:22pm

    @Martin – Ian Sollom has very graciously stood aside to allow her to stand in S Cambs. I do hope the party has made assurances to him that this won’t be forgotten.

  • Welcome Heidi, and well done Ian too.

  • Chris Leeds 7th Oct '19 - 10:57pm

    Welcome Heidi. I’ve long thought you belong in the Lib Dems and I’m delighted that you’ve made the step.

  • Richard Underhill. 7th Oct '19 - 11:55pm

    Welcome and thanks for helping in Brecon and Radnorshire.
    We have all been waiting for you since then.
    Do you speak any languages in your family?

  • Michael Sammon 8th Oct '19 - 12:34am

    Welcome Heidi, it’s probably the best Lib Dem news I’ve seen since joining in 2017. That’s how good I think she will be for us.

  • Unlike several of the defectors ( who are all welcome imho ) Heidi is a good ideological fit for the party and has a credible chance to hold her seat. It’s a pity it’s such a long and complex journey from her leaving the Tories to joining but I suspect the whole ‘ Change ‘ model was something that needed to be tested. Anyway I’m pleased the process of unifying these disperate ex Labour and Tory refugees is proceeding. FPTP is brutal and parties exist for a reason.

  • chris moore 8th Oct '19 - 3:12pm

    Long expected good news.

    Another potential star for the party.

  • CMS Catherwood 8th Oct '19 - 9:53pm

    As one of her countless grateful constituents I am thrilled by this news as it surely helps to guarantee her re-election. As she knows I am happy to have posters and billboards for her in front of my house! Hurrah!

  • Nigel Hardy 13th Oct '19 - 6:59pm

    Heidi will be big asset to our party being a good ideological fit for the party. I hope her constituency reward in so she retains her seat when an election comes.

    It would also be fantastic if Justine Greening were to join us, as I see her as being on our wavelength more the she was on the Tories. She is highly regarded in her young constituency demographic of Putney for applying modern thinking to the problems her locals face. If Justine joined us she’d probably retain her seat. That’s assuming she intends standing again.

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