POLITICS
08/04/2018 09:40 BST

New Centrist Movement Dubbed 'Establishment Reboot' By Labour

New party founded by LoveFilm millionaire Simon Franks reported to have £50m war chest.

PA Wire/PA Images
Not exactly "a novel idea", says John McDonnell

Labour has called plans for a new centrist political party “a daft waste of time” and a project “of the rich, by the rich”. 

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell was among many to pour scorn on reported plans for a new political party said to have been under secret development for more than a year.

With access of up to £50 million in funding, the movement comprises a network of entrepreneurs, philanthropists and donors keen to “break the Westminster mould”, according to The Observer.

The movement is said to be spearheaded by a former Labour donor and founded by multi-millionaire philanthropist and founder of LoveFilm, Simon Franks. It’s believed to have had full-time members of staff for a year. 

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

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.”

Clive Lewis, MP for Norwich South, described the movement as “an establishment reboot job”. 

Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary Jonathan Ashworth, meanwhile, 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, 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.”

Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell tweeted: “Sounds like a bad idea, over-hyped.”

Pro-Labour commentator Owen Jones said the party “has rich donors before it has any policies”. 

The plans even drew criticism from arch Jeremy Corbyn critic Lord Adonis, who was among those who formed the breakaway party the SDP, in 1981.