In Brief

Renew: new party bids to overturn Brexit

Centrist party inspired by Macron’s En Marche! hopes to unseat pro-Brexit MPs in Remain constituencies

A new political party set up to overturn Brexit has called on MPs from across the political spectrum to block any EU withdrawal deal Theresa May can strike.

The Renew party, inspired by French President Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche! party, has promised to unseat pro-Brexit MPs in constituencies with high levels of support for EU membership.

Founded by an accountant, a former journalist and a consultant, the party has so far raised around £100,000. It plans to contest seats in local elections in May, and all 650 parliamentary seats at the next general election - which is not scheduled to take place until 2022, after the UK leaves the EU.

Drawing predominantly on anti-Brexit independent candidates who stood for Parliament last June, the fledgling party says it has 300 people ready to contest the next general election.

Using the slogan “People from outside politics to renew Britain’s hope”, the party has yet to unveil any celebrity backers or high-profile defectors, but has said it is open to discussions with sympathetic members of existing parties.

Sandra Khadhouri, a former UN worker who is one of Renew’s three ‘principals’, told the London Evening Standard that the party aims to provide a rallying point for millions of people, particularly the young, who feel “politically homeless” in the wake of the EU referendum and regard the traditional parties as “weak, divided and out of touch”.

The party intends to launch a nationwide tour of towns and universities which will help develop “a broad policy platform beyond the single issue of Brexit, encompassing urban revitalisation, job opportunities, infrastructure investment and support for public services, technological innovation and cutting-edge environmental policies”, says the Standard.

A number of anti-Brexit campaigns have emerged over the past 18 months, including Best for Britain, backed by prominent anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller, and a new youth group called Our Future, Our Choice.

The big question, says the Financial Times, and one that has so far prevented a fracturing of the Labour right or Tory left, “is whether the UK’s first-past-the-post electoral system will permit the emergence of a new force”.

At last year’s general election, Labour and the Conservatives between them secured more than 80% of the vote, their highest combined share since the 1950s and a sign that two-party politics is enjoying a resurgence after years of decline.

But with the Tories deeply divided, Labour facing calls to clarify its ambiguous Brexit position and the Lib Dems struggling to make headway, Renew’s leaders believe there is an opening in Britain for a new centrist party.

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