Heidi Allen threatened to quit Change UK leadership over Remain unity

PUBLISHED: 19:25 22 May 2019 | UPDATED: 19:32 22 May 2019

Change UK leader Heidi Allen, seen here in a party election broadcast, said she wanted to back tactical voting for the Liberal Democrats. Picture: Change UK

Change UK leader Heidi Allen, seen here in a party election broadcast, said she wanted to back tactical voting for the Liberal Democrats. Picture: Change UK

Change UK

Heidi Allen has said she offered to quit as Change UK leader over whether or not the party should back the Liberal Democrats outside London and the South East.

The MP told Cathy Newman of Channel 4 News that she and colleagues such as Sarah Wollaston are for it, while others like Anna Soubry are not.

"Had it been left to me, I would have absolutely advised tactical voting," she said, adding that she was "very, very troubled" by the debate.

Allen felt she had to offer to resign because of how strongly she felt about it, she told Newman.

"We all left our parties in February because we could see that the main old parties were failing spectacularly to look after the national interest, and sometimes that's the only tool that you've got left: your integrity and how strongly you feel about something," she said.

"But ultimately though, it is a democracy, we are a group, and I took their views on board particularly, as I say, safeguarding our candidates."

Allen has previously been put on the spot by protesters about the possibility that Change UK could split the vote, and the party's lead candidate for Scotland, David MacDonald, stood down over the same concerns.

WATCH: Heidi Allen quizzed about Remain unity

READ: Change UK candidate stands down over fears of splitting the Remain vote

The latest statements may be perceived as an attempt by Allen to distance herself from some strains of her party after she suggested on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme that Change UK may not make it to the next general election in its current form.

In the Channel 4 interview, Newman pointed out this latest revelation suggests the party is "really in complete disarray", but Allen said it simply meant that this is a difficult time.

"It is not a precise science. The D'Hondt system is inherently complex," said Allen, referring to the voting system used in the European elections.

"I have no doubt that the British public will look at the tactical voting websites out there and make their own decisions."

READ: Remain United: To vote tactically or not?

But she expressed concern about the complexities of tactical voting with the D'Hondt system.

"Putting all the votes in one direction doesn't always necessarily create the result that you want," she said.

"If the next party further down in the polls isn't still big enough to win a seat, you can end up, if you're not careful, giving more votes to the Brexit parties, so it isn't straightforward."

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