New centrist party backed by LoveFilm founder 'splits before launch'

Posted On: 
31st August 2018

A new political party promising to "break the Westminster mould" has suffered a split before its formal launch.

United for Change has vowed to shake up Westminster
Credit: 
PA

United for Change was set up by LoveFilm founder and entrepreneur Simon Franks, and is reported to have secured more than £50m in funding.

But the fledgling organisation's chief executive, Adam Knight, told the Times he had now left the team along with some of its staff to set up a new group.

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He said that while United for Change shared the "same diagnosis" as his new outfit, dubbed Twelve Together after the number of UK regions, party chiefs had disagreed over strategy.

“In the end United for Change considered two potential strategic directions," he told the paper.

"The first was to take advantage of political instability surrounding Brexit to launch a political party around which the public, and maybe existing parliamentarians, could congregate as quickly as the beginning of 2019, while the second was to take a longer look at what it might mean to develop a new type of political organisation.

Mr Knight added: "We tried for a while to see if the two approaches could coexist, but it became clear that, while overlapping in places, they represented a fundamentally different type of leadership, set of values, timeline, and programme of activity."

The split comes as rumours continue to swirl in Westminster about a possible new grouping that might attract the support of disaffected Labour and Conservative MPs.

Labour's Chuka Umunna, a frequent critic of leader Jeremy Corbyn, last week dismissed as "complete and utter bollocks" claims that the push for a second Brexit referendum was a "precursor to a new party".

But Liberal Democrat former leader Tim Farron has urged MPs to "grow a flipping backbone" and set up a new grouping, saying it would have the support of the Lib Dems.