The Observer | Guardian revealed that a new political party with access to up to £50m in funding has been secretly under development for more than a year by a network of entrepreneurs, philanthropists and donors keen to “break the Westminster mould”.
The movement, spearheaded by a former Labour benefactor, is understood to have been drawn up by a group frustrated by the tribal nature of politics, the polarisation caused by Brexit and the standard of political leadership on all sides. It appears to have a centrist policy platform that borrows ideas from both left and right.
Senior figures from the worlds of business and charity are understood to be involved, as well as former supporters of the main parties, including a number of former Tory donors.
Sources say the project, led by the multi-millionaire philanthropist and founder of LoveFilm, Simon Franks, has had full-time staff members for as long as a year. Initial discussions are said to have begun at the end of 2016. Franks has set up a company, Project One Movement for the UK, which is likely to be the vehicle for the enterprise.
The group is said to have drawn up policy documents. Part of its attempt to break the traditional mould of politics would see all potential candidates asked to sign strict term limits, to stop the current practice that sees MPs in safe seats remain in post for decades.
Other than Franks, the identities of those involved remain secret and no launch date has been scheduled. It remains unclear how they intend to navigate Britain’s “first past the post” electoral system.
“They know that they might fail and that they will need some luck,” said one source. “But they care about this country and they want to challenge the way things are currently done by our current crop of professional politicians. They want to break the mould of Westminster politics.”
Comparisons will inevitably be drawn with Emmanuel Macron’s centrist En Marche! movement, which delivered him the French presidency and earned a majority in France’s national assembly last year.
Report can be read here.