Britain’s Anti-Brexit CUK Party Forced to Change Name For Third Time in Four Months

Change UK MP Anna Soubry speaks during a European Parliament election campaign rally at the Manchester Technology Centre in Manchester, northwest England, on May 21, 2019. - Despite voting in a referendum to leave the European Union in 2016 Britain is braced to take part in the European Parliament election …
PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images

The embattled Change UK (CUK) Party have suffered yet another embarrassment as they have been forced to change their name yet again after a legal challenge from petition site Change.Org.

The party issued a statement acknowledging the change and said that now they would seek to register the new name The Independent Group for Change.

In the statement, the party said: “Ahead of the European elections, lawyers for the organisation Change.org disputed our right to register as ‘Change UK’ with the Electoral Commission.”

“Under threat of legal action by Change.org, which would have involved each MP being sued personally, and with no time left to register a new party name to contest the elections, our leadership at the time felt we had no option but to sign a legal agreement preventing the permanent use of the name Change UK once the campaign was over.

“We are now legally obliged to make a formal application to the Electoral Commission, to amend our name by 15 June, so today we are applying to register ourselves as ‘The Independent Group for Change’ and will await the Electoral Commission’s decision.

“We remain determined as a party to tackle the big issues facing the country.”

The embarrassment is the latest in a long line of difficulties faced by the fledgeling party. One of the first came when the party’s logo was deemed unrecognisable to voters, meaning that the party had to contest the local elections in May with a blank space next to their party name.

Another misstep came when the party’s lead candidate for the European Parliament election in Scotland announced that he would be voting for the Liberal Democrats and urged others to do the same.

The party then suffered poor results in the European election, polling at just 3.4 per cent of the vote and failing to win a single MEP seat. This embarrassment was compounded by the fact another new UK political group, the Brexit Party, founded around the same time as CUK managed to come first in the same election.

During the Peterborough by-election, the party did not submit a candidate at all after a deal with the Liberal Democrats and Green Party to put up a single unity candidate fell through. Both the Greens and Lib Dems did manage to field their own candidates, however.

The party then suffered its biggest setback as more than half of its 11 MPs split from the party and stand as an independent group. Among those to defect were Chukka Umunna, who has since split again and joined the Liberal Democrats, and former party leader Heidi Allen.

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