|Independent Group Spokesperson for Welfare, Pensions, Social Care and Business|
|Assumed office |
1 March 2019
|Preceded by||Office established|
|Member of Parliament|
for South Cambridgeshire
|Assumed office |
7 May 2015
|Preceded by||Andrew Lansley|
Heidi Suzanne Bancroft
18 January 1975
Notton, West Yorkshire, England
|The Independent Group (2019-present)|
Conservative (until 2019)
|Education||University College London (BSc)|
Heidi Suzanne Allen (née Bancroft; born 18 January 1975) is a British politician and MP. Previously a Conservative, she joined The Independent Group and renounced her membership of the Conservative Party on 20 February 2019 citing concerns over allowing the "hard-line anti-EU awkward squad" take over the party in a joint letter with Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston.
Allen was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for South Cambridgeshire at the 2015 general election. She succeeded Andrew Lansley, the former Conservative government minister who had held the seat since its creation in 1997, following his retirement from the House of Commons in 2015.
Early life and career
Allen worked in various corporate positions, including ExxonMobil and the Royal Mail. In 2008 she joined the family classic-motorcycle paints business, RS Bike Paint Ltd, established by her parents in 1978 and now run by her husband Phil Allen.
Allen has said she was inspired to become active in politics after watching the scenes of the Tottenham riots, and first became a councillor in St Albans. Allen served as a councillor for 18 months before making a bid to become an MP.
In February 2014, Allen ran in an open selection process for the South East Cambridgeshire parliamentary constituency. She was beaten by Lucy Frazer but there was initially a controversy about a possible miscount of votes on Frazer's selection. Frazer was reaffirmed as the candidate in January 2015 and in October 2014, Allen was selected as prospective parliamentary candidate (PPC) for South Cambridgeshire. The seat was held by the Conservative Andrew Lansley, then a cabinet minister, who had decided to stand down at the 2015 general election. Allen won the seat in the general election, increasing the Conservative majority and taking 51.1% of the votes cast. The nearest candidate was Labour who took 27.2% of the vote.
In July 2015, Allen was elected to the Work and Pensions Select Committee. Allen made her maiden speech before the House of Commons on 20 October 2015, when she detailed criticism of proposed cuts to tax credits, saying, 'because today I can sit on my hands no longer'. She wanted to criticise the proposed tax credit cuts. She wanted to intervene before it was 'too late' to stop the changes to tax credits, even though she did not want to support the motion tabled by Labour because she disagreed with the party's overall stance, whilst also not being in favour of the Government's motion over tax credit cuts. Isabel Hardman of The Spectator described her speech as "truly brave" and "well argued". Despite her speech, she voted in favour of tax credit cuts, in line with the Conservative whip.
On 5 December 2016, Allen announced her intention to put her name forward for the Conservative nomination for the election of Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in May 2017. Allen proposed to combine the role with her current position as MP for South Cambridgeshire. In January 2017, she failed to win the Conservative Party nomination for the role.
In June 2017, Allen was re-elected as Member of Parliament for South Cambridgeshire in the snap general election. Over that summer it was mooted that Jacob Rees-Mogg would be a candidate for the leadership of the Conservative Party. Allen announced that if he became leader she would leave the party.
In December 2017, Allen displayed tears during a House of Commons debate on Universal Credit after hearing fellow MP, Frank Field, describe how he had talked a man out of suicide. The Department for Work and Pensions later stated that "the two examples that [Field] gave were not claimants on Universal Credit" In the same month Allen voted along with fellow Conservative Dominic Grieve and nine other Tory MPs against the government, and in favour of guaranteeing Parliament a "meaningful vote" on any Brexit deal Theresa May might agree with Brussels.
In June 2018, during a debate on changing the abortion laws in Northern Ireland following a referendum in the Republic of Ireland which would amend the Constitution of Ireland to allow terminations, Allen said that she had an abortion for health reasons when she was younger. She stated: "I was ill when I made the incredibly hard decision to have a termination: I was having seizures every day, I wasn't even able to control my own body, let alone care for a new life... I am a modern, progressive woman in this country and I am proud that this country is my home... How can it be that Northern Ireland will soon be the only part of Great Britain and Ireland where terminations are to all intents and purposes outlawed?"
In September 2018, Allen spoke in favour of a second referendum on the UK leaving the European Union. Allen said she feared the danger to jobs and businesses in her constituency and the whole nation from leaving the EU without a deal. Allen blamed the party's Eurosceptic right-wing for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, and called them "fiscally and economically irresponsible". Allen said there was "no alternative other than asking – should we come to that, no deal, that looks like that's what's going to happen – then we need to go back to the public to decide what they want us to do next." Allen further said that a second referendum should include the option of staying in the EU under current terms.
The Independent Group
- "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
- "Three Tory MPs join breakaway group". 2019-02-20. Retrieved 2019-02-21.
- "Election 2015 – Cambridgeshire South". BBC. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- "Heidi Allen – Member of Parliament for South Cambridgeshire". Retrieved 22 September 2015.
- White, Debbie (16 January 2014). "St Albans councillor fails to win bid for safe Tory parliamentary seat". The Herts Advertiser.
- Game, Chris (11 February 2014). "The Conservatives' disastrous primary election in South East Cambridgeshire should not deter other local parties from using primaries". democraticaudit.com. Democratic Audit UK.
- Graham, Georgia (7 January 2014). "Voting miscount could mean wrong woman announced as Conservative parliamentary candiate [sic]". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 9 August 2017.
- Merrick, Jane (12 January 2014). "The battle of the Tory women: Farcical scenes after 'invalid' vote to select candidate for safe seat". The Independent. Archived from the original on 9 August 2017.
- Goodman, Paul (11 October 2014). "Heidi Allen wins South Cambridgeshire selection". Conservative Home.
- Wallace, Mark (7 January 2014). "Alleged vote counting error throws South East Cambridgeshire Open Primary result into doubt". Conservative Home.
- "Work and Pensions Committee – membership". UK Parliament. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
- "MPs debate tax credits: 20 October 2015". parliament.uk. UK Parliament.
- "Government narrowly win vote for tax credit cuts". ITV News. 20 October 2015.
- "MP Heidi Allen warns tax credit cuts 'betray' Tory values". BBC News. 20 October 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
- "Tory MP speaks passionately against tax credits cuts. Before voting for them. Again". Political Scrapbook. 21 October 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
- Hardman, Isabel (21 October 2015). "Tory MP Heidi Allen's devastating attack on tax credit cuts". The Spectator. Archived from the original on 21 October 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
- Nagesh, Ashitha (23 October 2015). "Heidi Allen voted for the tax credit cuts after all after accusing George Osborne of betrayal". Metro.
- "Heidi Allen – Spending on Welfare Benefits". They Work For You.
- Dixon, Anabelle (9 November 2017). "40 Brexit troublemakers to watch". Politico. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
- "Brexit vote: How did your MP vote on the the [sic] bill?". BBC News. 9 February 2017.
- Comber, Ben (5 December 2016). "MP Heidi Allen will run for mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough". Cambridge Independent.
- Lamy, Joel (16 January 2017). "Marco Cereste and MP Heidi Allen fail in bid to become elected mayor of Peterborough and Cambridgeshire". Peterborough Telegraph. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
- Simons, Ned (14 August 2017). "Conservative MP Heidi Allen says she will quit party If Jacob Rees-Mogg is made leader". HuffPost.
- Bowden, George (5 December 2017). "Tory MP Heidi Allen moved to tears after heartbreaking Universal Credit speech". HuffPost. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
- "Any Questions". BBC News. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
- Austin, Henry (13 December 2017). "Brexit vote: The 11 Tory rebel MPs who defeated the Government". The Independent. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
- Harriet Line (5 June 2018). "Heidi Allen reveals she had an abortion and her reasons for it". Cambridge News. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
- Tory MP says she would back new Brexit vote The Guardian 29 September 2018
- Brexit: Tory MP Heidi Allen would back another referendum BBC News. 29 September 2018
- "Three MPs quit Tory party to join breakaway group". BBC News. 20 February 2019. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
- Official website
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 2010–present
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
- YouTube Channel
- Heidi Allen on Twitter
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament
for South Cambridgeshire