Elected as the Member of Parliament for South Cambridgeshire in 2015 and again in 2017, Heidi Allen came to politics from business, having worked for 18 years in a variety of industries. Prior to running her own manufacturing business, she worked in the private sector – for organisations such as ExxonMobil – and the public sector, with the Royal Mail.
This combination of broad business knowledge, plus a degree in Astrophysics and also in law, means Heidi has been able to represent the diverse interests of her constituency and promote the growth of its small and medium sized enterprises and high-tech industries too. Having grown up in rural Yorkshire, she also understands the rural way of life and the inherent challenges often faced.
Since her election, Heidi has gained a reputation for being an independently minded backbencher, unafraid to speak out in the House of Commons. A member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, she has influenced the national debate on the funding and delivery of the welfare state, regularly speaking up for families on low incomes and for the disabled. Heidi was the lead campaigner on the Conservative benches and was at the heart of all the funding and structural improvements made to Universal Credit prior to joining the Independent Group.
She was awarded the ‘Conservative Newcomer MP of the Year’ in 2016 for her work in representing the vulnerable and marginalised. She was also instrumental in the Government agreeing to take in more child refugees displaced by the war in Syria and was recognised again for her work on this issue winning ‘Conservative MP of the Year’ in 2017.
Representing a strong remain constituency, Heidi was one of the Conservative MPs who backed the Grieve amendment in 2017, which ensured Parliament has a vote on the final deal. This has proved to be absolutely fundamental as the Brexit debacle has unfolded.
Heidi is married to Phil who runs the family manufacturing business. They live in South Cambridgeshire with two cats.
Heidi’s decision to sit as an Independent Member of Parliament
This is Heidi’s explanation to her constituents, on June 4th 2019, of why she resigned from Change UK to sit as an Independent MP.
“I left the Conservative Party in February to sit as an Independent MP because I was concerned the Party had drifted to the right and it was more concerned with its own survival than the national interest. Early polling results gave us, as Independents, the confidence to formalise into a party structure, named “Change UK” to fight the European elections at the end of May. However it soon became clear that the Brexit Party was storming ahead. Believing passionately that the National interest must always come first, and that Nigel Farage did not have the right answers for the country’s future, I felt our support should shift to other Remain parties who were faring better than us in the polls.
I was unable to convince a majority of Change UK MPs of this strategy and they remained steadfastly of the opinion that the party should seek to achieve as many votes for itself rather than collaborate with other parties
Now the European elections are over, I remain unwavering in my strong belief that the country must always come first. As such, I have stepped down from Change UK and returned to sit once again as an Independent with four other colleagues – Sarah Wollaston, Luciana Berger, Angela Smith and Gavin Shuker.
There are two principal reasons as to why I have done this.
I do not believe I can serve my constituents and country well if I put party interests ahead of theirs.
Secondly, the political landscape remains very volatile. In the coming weeks and months I can easily envisage MPs leave the Conservative Party because they cannot tolerate a new Prime Minister who advocates a hard Brexit or no deal Brexit. Equally, there are Labour colleagues who will no longer tolerate Jeremy Corbyn‘s inability to fight as an opposition leader should.
Recognising that it is very difficult for MPs to leave their parties and immediately join other ones, I believe my role will be to help convene a safe neutral space in the centre ground of Parliament and offer a home for those MPs. It will allow us to work alongside the Liberal Democrats, Greens, SNP, Change UK and Plaid Cymru in the national interest, ensuring we do not crash out of the EU with no deal.
As an Independent MP with a reputation for cross party working and prioritising the national interest over party allegiance, I feel strongly that I will be able to help act as a convener.
It is my strong belief that this is what the country needs right now.”
A more detailed statement, including a video setting out Heidi’s views, can be seen on Heidi’s website: https://heidiallen.co.uk/explaining-the-decision-to-sit-as-an-independent-member-of-parliament/