Heidi Allen joins former Labour MP Frank Field on mission to highlight the poverty caused by her party’s policies
Heidi Allen and Frank Field make an odd partnership at first glance. Allen, 44, the Conservative MP for one of Britain’s richest constituencies, and Field, 76, a Labour MP for 39 years until he resigned over antisemitism in the party, have bonded across the Commons over a shared outrage at poverty. Now they have embarked on a nationwide tour in search of the “other England” shaped by the austerity policies pioneered by Allen’s party. It is proving emotional.
Visits to the poorest corners of Newcastle, Glasgow, Morecambe and Cornwall beckon, but they have started in London and Leicester, where on Thursday they heard stories of an illiterate man sanctioned so often under universal credit that he lives on £5 a week; a man so poor he sold all but the clothes he was wearing; and someone being told to walk 44 miles to attend a job interview, despite having had a stroke, to save the state the cost of a £15 bus ticket.