Why I'm Voting... Change UK: The Independent Group

20 May 2019

Change UK: The Independent Group was only officially registered as a party a month ago, and in that time, it has made some incredible impact across the country. Having a BAME spokesperson and a woman leader is seen by some as inspirational.

 

I became a supporter of what was known in the beginning as The Independent Group on the day they launched. As a young person and an ex-Labour member, I could not simply sit there and watch my former party help the Conservatives and the DUP in facilitating Brexit. The process of leaving the EU has been proven to be disastrous for young people, and that is why Change UK: The Independent Group are unequivocally calling for a People’s Vote, so we can put an end to this deadlock, one of the longest in parliamentary history.

 

Our charter for Remain is a manifesto setting out our ambitions and ideas, together with the evidence, facts, and statistics to support the claims we make. This alone is proof that Change UK: The Independent Group are committed to evidence-based, truthful politics. Some of the main points of the charter include:

 

- Opposition to the final Brexit deal unless approved by the public in a referendum

- A frictionless border in Ireland, consistent with The Good Friday Agreement and in line with UK participation in the single market and customs union

- Support for continued EU freedom of movement

- Commitment to keep the UK and open and friendly place for EU and international students

 

As a young person, the entire charter appeals to me. My father was in the army and did two tours of Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles, acting as a peacekeeper on the very border that is now being debated in the Commons on an almost daily basis. I cannot sit back and see my father and his colleagues’ hard work in Northern Ireland go to waste. Although he originally voted to leave, he has since thought about his days in the army and said that if there were a People’s Vote he would vote Remain, and would vote Change-UK: The Independent Group to reverse some of the damage already inflicted by Brexit.

 

I voted Remain in the first referendum in 2016. I planned to study politics and international relations in Malmo, Sweden, with the European headquarters of the United Nations just across the bridge in Copenhagen. As a Eurovision journalist I also get the opportunity to travel with the press pack to national selections in countries such as Malta, Germany, and France. My former party, Labour, claim to support the freedom of movement that allows me to make such journeys, yet they have tried to do a deal with the Prime Minister and still promise to implement their own exit if elected. Labour have become a Brexit party, and if they implemented it, my education and work would become much harder in the future. By contrast, Change UK: The Independent Group want to fight to secure my rights as a citizen of The European Union. That’s why they’ll be getting my vote on 23rd May.

 

In the South West and Gibraltar region we have some amazing candidates, including Rachel Johnson, the sister of Boris and Jo; and Ollie Middleton, a former Labour parliamentary candidate and manager of Liz Kendall’s leadership campaign, amongst many others. With figures as diverse as Johnson and Middleton, each coming from different parties, we can truly say we are a Remain alliance. And diverse though they are, they are united in agreeing that our politics is fundamentally broken and that only a People's Vote would break the parliamentary deadlock.

 

In our party political broadcast, which premiered on Monday, 13 May, our leader, Heidi Allen, challenged Nigel Farage to a TV debate. Unsurprisingly, he declined her offer. This kind of arrogance is widespread in politics at the moment. It is shared by the two main parties, whose negotiations have gone nowhere and whose policies offer no solutions. For me, Change UK: The Independent Group are the only party who offer an alternative. A vote for them is a vote for hope for the future. 

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