In Depth

Why Gary Lineker is the centrists' choice

As the parties drift to the left and right, have they left a gap for a dashing centre-forward?

TV presenter and former England striker Gary Lineker has spoken out on Twitter about feeling "politically homeless" as politicians scatter to the left and right.

"Everything seems far right or way left," the footballer said. "Something sensibly centrist might appeal?"

Others lent their agreement, including Dragons Den star Deborah Meaden and cricket reporter Elizabeth Ammon.

Might there be space for a new centrist party not led by Tim Farron? And who might take it to glory?

Gary Lineker

Why not the man himself? Lineker has long been outspoken on Twitter, with thousands of re-tweets and likes whenever he takes to his keyboard. From Europe to social media to opinion polls, Lineker is always readily available for public comment, though his views will be sure to alienate some.

Both anti-Brexit and anti-Farage, Lineker sits firmly in the "liberal elite" camp, which may cause problems to those with more populist leanings. Others may baulk at his relative warmth towards the Labour leader.

However, he insists that he's most comfortable in the strong and stable centre.

JK Rowling

"What should you do if you support Labour but can't stand Jeremy Corbyn?" JK Rowling asked in April. Perhaps she too is hoping to conjure up a new party in the centre of the political spectrum.

The author has sold more than 500 million books and has more than 11 million followers on Twitter. Theresa May has just 366,000.

A staunch critic of the Cameron government, Rowling donated £1m to the Labour Party in 2008, but she's no fan of the party's current direction.

Harry Styles

Though he would be the youngest PM in UK history (narrowly beating William Pitt the Younger, who took office aged 24 in 1783), One Direction frontman Harry Styles could be an electoral dark horse.

"I'm not educated enough on the subject to really go toe-to-toe with someone about it," he said in May when questioned on Brexit, but last year's US election has proved that a lack of experience need not by a barrier. In the words of Michael Gove, "people have had enough of experts", so perhaps the 23-year old is more suited to political office than he realises.

A Liberal Democrat voter, Styles is in pole position to take the centre by storm - and he's already been dubbed a "remoaner" by the pro-Brexit press. He'll fit right in.

John Cleese

Monty Python star John Cleese has long been a centrist, and a firm Remainer in the Brexit debate. Sharply witty and intimidatingly tall, Cleese would be a fine presence at the PMQs dispatch box, and he has a quiver of insults ready to go. "Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries" might be considered unparliamentary by some.

At 77, however, Cleese would be one of the oldest party leaders in British history, and his political judgement may need some fine-tuning. "People are asking me how I shall vote," he tweeted before the election. "I shan't. I live in Chelsea and Kensington, so under our present system my vote is utterly worthless."

The constituency of Kensington ended up being won by Labour from the Conservatives by a margin of 20 votes.

 

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