Oxford Independent Group applies to become official student society

The group is part of Young Independents, the youth wing of Change UK-The Independent Group, a new political party founded by former Labour and Conservative MPs to oppose Brexit.

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Chuka Umunna, co-founder of the Independent Group

A group of Oxford students seeking to set up an Independent Group political club have applied to the Students’ Union for recognition.

The group is part of Young Independents, the youth wing of the Independent Group – Change UK (TIG-CUK), a new political party founded by former Labour and Conservative MPs to oppose Brexit.

Five committee positions were announced on the new website of group, officially called ‘Oxford Students for the Independent Group’. Corpus Christi’s Lily McDermott is listed as President, with Rhodes scholar James Norton as Secretary, Nicole Bussey as Treasurer, Somerville’s Joe Rattue as IT Officer and former Cherwell editor Libby Cherry as Communications Officer.

Speaking to Cherwell, McDermott outlined the group’s plans for Trinity term: “We are aiming to have a meeting at the beginning of Trinity term. From then we will be organising more events, and hope to have one of the TIG MPs visit Oxford.

“We have requested to take part in the Three Party Debate hosted by The Oxford Forum and are waiting to hear back on that front.”

McDermott declined to say whether the group would campaign in the upcoming local elections and how they would differentiate themselves from the Oxford University Liberal Democrats, who share CUK-TIG’s centrist and pro-European political positions. McDermott told Cherwell: “The hope is that we are moving away from tribal politics and wish to work with parties that support evidence-based progressive policies.”

The group’s mission statement reads: “The current political system is not working. The Conservative Party has been taken over by the extreme far right, and Labour is run by the hard left.

“British politics has become increasingly polarised in recent years, and has caused public discourse to stagnate in the same hackneyed narratives which are not only incapable of the pragmatic compromise necessary for government, as the Brexit Crisis demonstrates, but have also produced an increasingly hostile atmosphere which serves only to divide the UK.

“We call for a new kind of politics, a kind of politics which unites the people, ensures wealth and prosperity, and fosters diversity and equality.”

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