Change UK forced to make another name change

PUBLISHED: 08:47 14 June 2019 | UPDATED: 08:47 14 June 2019

Anna Soubry, watched by Chuka Umunna and other Change UK party members, speaks during a Change UK rally. Photograph: Kirsty O'Connor/PA.

Anna Soubry, watched by Chuka Umunna and other Change UK party members, speaks during a Change UK rally. Photograph: Kirsty O'Connor/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Anti-Brexit party Change UK will change its name for a third time in five months following a dispute.

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The group, originally known as The Independent Group, was challenged over the similarity of its new moniker to the Change.org petition site.

The group has now said it will apply for registration with the Electoral Commission as The Independent Group for Change.

A statement set out how lawyers from Change.org disputed the group's right to register as "Change UK" with the Electoral Commission ahead of the European elections.

They explained how "under threat of legal action" by Change.org, which could have seen "each MP being sued personally" and with no time left to register a new party name, Change UK "felt we had no option but to sign a legal agreement" to ditch the name following the election.

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They added: "We are now legally obliged to make a formal application to the Electoral Commission, to amend our name by 15th 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.

"Preventing a disastrous no deal Brexit and fixing Britain's broken politics remain our absolute focus as we begin to build our new policy platform."

The reaction from journalists was incredulous, with Buzzfeed's Alex Wickham tweeting "There are no words".

The Independent Group was launched on February 18 this year by seven MPs who had quit Labour and four more, including three Tories, who quickly became known as the Tiggers.

In April, the group's registration with the Electoral Commission as a political party named Change UK was accepted, although its logo was rejected, in part for the inclusion of a hashtag.

It comes as former MP Chuka Ummunna announced his move to the Liberal Democrats.

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