Beleaguered political party Change UK – The Independent Group has been forced to change its name for the third time following a legal challenge from campaigning website Change.org.
The party, which lost six of its 11 MPs earlier in the month following disastrous European elections results, announced yesterday that it had signed a legal agreement with the website to prevent it from permanently using the name Change UK.
It is now applying to the electoral commission to change its name to The Independent Group for Change.
After initially forming as the Independent Group in February, the group announced it had applied to register as a political party as Change UK – The Independent Group in March.
Change.org said at the time it would seek legal advice on how to challenge the new branding.
Shortly afterwards, Anna Soubry, one of Change UK’s MPs, mistakenly referred to the group as “Change.org” in a speech in Parliament.
In a statement released yesterday, the party said it had been contacted by Change.org’s lawyers during the European election campaign, but did not have time to register a new name before the vote.
Because of this, the party’s “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.”
Former Conservative Heidi Allen, interim leader of Change UK during the European elections, was one of the six MPs to leave the party in the wake of the vote. The party is now led by Soubry, also a former Tory.
Change UK failed to win any seats in the European elections, gaining just three per cent of the vote overall.