Heidi Allen (Heidi Suzanne Allen), (née Bancroft; born 18 January 1975) is a British politician and MP. On 20 February 2019, Allen resigned from the Conservative Party, along with two other MPs from her party (Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston), joining the newly formed The Independent Group. On 29 March 2019, it was announced that The Independent Group had applied to become a political party under the name Change UK, and that Allen would be appointed interim leader. On 29 March 2019, she was announced as interim leader of newly-christened Change UK.
Heidi Allen was elected MP for South Cambridgeshire on May 7th 2015 with 31454 votes, taking 51.1% of the vote. Heidi has a background as manager and a wide business knowledge. Since 2009 she has been the managing director of the manufacturing business started by her parents in 1978. Within the years she has been able to develop it from what was an UK orientated company into one that now exports products all over the world. Heidi comes from a rural village in Yorkshire called Notton, and has studied Astrophysics at the University College London.
Heidi Allen said she was inspired to pursue a political career four years ago as she watched images of the London riots.
She explained: “So worried was I our country was in danger of total breakdown, I felt I had to do something.”
Allen attacked Chancellor George Osborne’s planned cuts to tax credits, accusing him of “betraying” Conservative values. Her words won cheers from Labour, and many of her Tory colleagues also welcomed her intervention. By the time she had finished talking, she was Westminster’s newest star.
Spokesperson for Welfare and Pensions, Social Care, and Business
Elected as the Member of Parliament for South Cambridgeshire in 2015 and again in 2017, Heidi Allen came to politics from business, having worked for 18 years in a variety of industries. Prior to running her own manufacturing business, she worked in the private sector for organisations such as ExxonMobil and the public sector with the Royal Mail.
This combination of broad business knowledge, plus a degree in Astrophysics and also in law, means Heidi has been able to represent the diverse interests of her constituency and promote the growth of its small and medium sized enterprises and high-tech industries too. Having grown up in rural Yorkshire, she also understands the rural way of life and the inherent challenges often faced.
Since her election, Heidi has gained a reputation for being an independently minded backbencher, unafraid to speak out in the House of Commons. A member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, she has influenced the national debate on the funding and delivery of the welfare state, regularly speaking up for families on low incomes and for the disabled. Heidi was the lead campaigner on the Conservative benches and was at the heart of all the funding and structural improvements made to Universal Credit prior to joining the Independent Group.
She was awarded the “Conservative Newcomer MP of the Year” in 2016 for her work in representing the vulnerable and marginalised. She was also instrumental in the Government agreeing to take in more child refugees displaced by the war in Syria and was recognised again for her work on this issue winning “Conservative MP of the Year” in 2017.
Representing a strong remain constituency, she is determined to play her part in ensuring Brexit does not damage the economy, security and people’s lives. As such, she was one of the Conservative MPs who backed the Grieve amendment in 2017, which ensured Parliament has a vote on the final deal. This has proved to be absolutely fundamental as the Brexit debacle has unfolded.
20th February 2019: A message to my constituents
It is only right that I offer an explanation to my constituents as to why, on 20th February 2019, I resigned from the Conservative party and now represent them as an Independent MP.
The Conservative Party I joined in 2012 was a moderate, open-hearted, one nation party, well regarded for economic competence, delivering good jobs and providing opportunity and prosperity for all. The party was challenging its nasty party image, proving that it could be a party of both competence and compassion. This was the reason I chose to first stand for election in 2015 as a Conservative MP.
Unfortunately the party I was once proud to represent, has slowly but surely abandoned the values I hold dear, shifting to the right of British Politics.
The narrow outcome of the 2016 EU referendum necessitated careful handling to ensure everyone in the country had confidence in the future. But, rather than bringing the country together through a genuine effort to build consensus, many now feel alienated. Many of those who feel this way are my constituents.
I have always believed in mature cross party collaboration, putting residents first and am therefore proud to have worked and continue to work with colleagues from all political parties both here in South Cambs and in Westminster.
So when I resigned from the Conservative Party it was also because I felt strongly that there was a better way of “doing” politics. Our country deserves better; more competence, more collaboration, more expert analysis, more transparency, more care and more fairness. And at the same time, less adversarial politics, less “Westminster bubble” and less entrenched political ideology. Joining 10 other MPs from both Conservative and Labour backgrounds, I want to play my part to bring this ambition to life.
I want to reassure all my constituents that I’m still “Heidi.” I haven’t changed, my fantastic team in my office haven’t changed and you have my word that we will continue to work as hard as we always have to support everyone in South Cambridgeshire.
I am also pleased to report that local councillors of every political persuasion have been nothing but supportive and have pledged to keep working as a team, rightly putting our residents first. Conservative MPs and Ministers, while disappointed to see me leave the party have gone out of their way to contact me to reassure me that they are also keen to continue working collaboratively, just as before.
So I want you to know that the high standard of service I endeavour to provide, will continue as normal. Being an MP is an incredible privilege and is first and foremost a role of public service, not a party political one. As such, becoming an Independent will not in any way affect my relationship with my constituents.
I and colleagues have put our heads above the parapet to try and build a new kind of politics. It is true, we might fail. But I believe it is a prize worth fighting for and I sense the country wants us to fight for it too.
Despite the tremendous support from constituents following my decision, for which I am very grateful, I fully appreciate some may not feel this way. Others may have questions which currently remain unanswered. I am therefore planning to hold a number of public events across the constituency in the coming weeks to enable us to have those conversations. As soon as venues and locations are confirmed I will advertise the events here on my website and hope many of you will come along to meet and talk to me.
I will ALWAYS put my constituents and country first – on that you have my word.
Why We Founded The Independent Group
We have founded The Independent Group to be true to our values – values which have been forgotten by the main political parties.
Our country faces big challenges which urgently need solving. Our aim is to reach across outdated divides and build consensus to meet those challenges. We will make decisions based on evidence – and arrive at them by debating with tolerance and respect. Every member of our group has the right to be heard and the duty to lead.
Forming The Independent Group hasn’t been an easy decision – but it is time to recognise that our politics is broken and needs fundamental change. We are excited to be on this journey with you and with each other.
Heidi Suzanne Allen Quick Facts
- Managing Director committed to offering her leadership skills to public service.
- Bringing 16 years of senior management experience in public and private sector industry.
- Powerful communicator with track record of inspiring and leading people from the front.
- Lifts and motivates people to achieve results and drive change.
- Experience of negotiating and influencing at every level from trade unions to executive boards.
- Delivered significant business and cultural change programs.
- Saxophone playing Astrophysicist!
07/2005 – current Managing Director
- Managing Director of motorcycle paint manufacturing business.
- A unique business without competition anywhere in the world.
- Company paint database is copyrighted and unparalleled in the industry.
- Led transition from UK telephone mail order business to International internet based company.
- Export sales now account for 50% of total income.
- Outstanding growth; 25% year on year.
- Turnover doubled in last 3 years.
- Approved supplier to major motorcycle manufacturers in the UK and Europe.
02/2005 – 07/2005 Tubelines Change & Development Manager
- Recruited to deliver a total organisational review of their operations business.
- Worked closely with HR & Senior Management to identify improvement opportunities & appropriate delivery methods.
- Developed programme of change initiatives to deliver profit & contractual Public Private Partnership targets over first 7.5 years.
04/2004- 02/2005 Royal Mail, UK Operations Swindon Mail Centre Manager
- P&L responsible for operations in Swindon; 500 staff, £15m budget, £23m revenue, 24 x 7 operation.
- Drove cultural & operational improvements on back drop of significant organisational change.
- Challenged the traditional operational approach and did things “differently.”
- Operational restructuring to achieve National pay deal (15% cost reduction, 10% head count reduction, no voluntary redundancies).
- Staff satisfaction increased by 15%, 47% reduction in accidents, 5% under budget after restructuring.
- Led management refresh & skills development programme.
- Built excellent working relationships with trade unions.
05/2003- 03/2004 Royal Mail, UK Operations, Mount Pleasant London Quality Lead Manager
- Executive Development Fast Track entrant, employed as part of Royal Mail’s renewal & business transformation programme.
- Responsible for the identification & resolution of quality loss across entire mails pipeline.
- Mentor & coach to operational management team; step change in performance & management behaviours.
- Regulator quality targets reached across all main product streams.
- Recognised as having applied a significantly different approach and invited to join the central UK Mails Organisational Change programme.
12/2000-03/2003 Churchill Insurance Group Business Solutions Manager
- Review of UK commercial insurance business to ensure it could support strategy for substantial growth.
- Identified & delivered structural & cultural change with employee consultation at the heart of the programme.
- Helped senior & middle management translate strategy into mission statements & tactical plans.
- Developed & rolled out divisional communication programme.
Churchill Insurance Group Business Acquisition Workstream Manager
- Managed integration team for the commercial insurance aspect of a Group acquisition.
- Coordinated review of organisational fit; products, processes, staff, (70 staff & £28m revenue).
- Development and communication of integration plans, ensuring fit of new operation within existing business.
Churchill Insurance Group Business Acquisition Project Manager
- Project management of all aspects of a brand new business.
- Operational set up, recruitment, training, systems and product development.
- Managed organisational & customer communication programme, ensuring 97% (£20m revenue) transfer of business
- Acted as mentor to staff in the new operation, developing the necessary buy in to ensure a seamless transition.
Churchill Insurance Group IT Infrastructure Replacement Project Manager
- Co-ordination of business requirements, system specifications & IT development plans.
- Responsible for business liaison, system testing & corporate training programme.
03/1998 – 12/2000 Esso Petroleum UK Industrial Fuels Group Head
- Head of UK Fuels customer service team. Financial accountability for receivables of ~£1500m pa.
- Successful management of team through ExxonMobil merger; transition through, & implementation of functional & organisational changes.
Esso Petroleum Customer Contact Manager
- Management of central call centre, receiving & fulfilling orders for UK fuels customers.
- Responsible for significant improvements in delivery fulfilment, vehicle utilisation & customer satisfaction.
Esso Petroleum Transport Contracts Analyst
- Development of transport contract specification & successful tender implementation.
- Improved operational efficiencies achieved by effective analysis and relationship building.
- Additional responsibility for coordination & stewardship of departmental budget £55m.
10/1996 – 02/1998 Refinishing Service General Manager
- General management of family business; the sole manufacturers of motorcycle paint in the UK.
- Facilitated change from a local cash and carry business to national mail order.
Education & Professional Development
2006 – 2007 GDL Commendation (Graduate Diploma in Law – Law Conversion), BPP London
1998 – 2000 Exxon Development programme, London Business School
1993 – 1996 BSc (Honours) Astrophysics; IIi, University College London
1981 – 1993 9 GCSEs, 1 A/S Level, 4 A Levels
Heidi is married to Phil who runs the family manufacturing business. They live in South Cambridgeshire with two cats!
- Heidi Suzanne Allen Biography and Profile (Heidi Allen)