New centrist party spooks Labour

PUBLISHED: 10:35 08 April 2018

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell
Photo: PA / Yui Mok

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell Photo: PA / Yui Mok

PA Wire/PA Images

Plans for a new political party have been met with ridicule by Labour front benchers.

The Observer revealed the plans for a new centrist movement which is said to have secured £50m of backing spearheaded by entrepreneur Simon Franks.

The party - as yet unnamed and without any political backers –would draw policies from both the left and the right in a clear bid to tempt voters who backed the Tony Blair-era Labour party.

However the plans for a centrist challenger party were dismissed by the shadow chancellor and two of his frontbench colleagues.

John McDonnell led a string of Labour MPs to pour scorn on reported plans for a new political party said to have been under secret development for more than a year.

Mr McDonnell tweeted: “That’s a novel idea. A party of the rich, by the rich, for the rich. A party for the few not the many.”

Shadow health and social care secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “For goodness sake, what a daft waste of time. Anyone putting money into this nonsense would be better off investing in our campaign to restore and rebuild our NHS.”

Jon Trickett, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, tweeted: “A new political party with £50m in the kitty, no members, no rule book, no ideology. Perhaps with support from sections of the British Establishment. A plaything for the rich?

“Let’s focus on the task in hand: building a social movement which will change our country for good.”

Their sentiments were echoed by Colne Valley MP Thelma Walker, who said it was “just what our country doesn’t need”, while Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell tweeted: “Sounds like a bad idea, over-hyped.”

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