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Dead in the Water? New ‘Centrist’ Party Backed by Ex-Goldman Banker Splits Before Launch

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A new ‘centrist’ party, backed with £50 million ($64.9 million), promising to be an “alternative to the divisive and extremist politics we see at Westminster,” has embarrassingly lost its CEO and other staff before its launch.

‘United for Change,’ founded by Simon Franks, an entrepreneur and film producer who set up online rental service ‘Lovefilm,’ had been preparing to officially launch as Britain’s newest centrist party next year. That was until Adam Knight, a co-founder of the prospective party and its chief executive, quit the organization along with several members of his staff, to set up a new political outfit.

Knight told the Times that despite United for Change sharing the “same diagnosis” as his new organization, coined ‘Twelve Together’ after the number of UK regions, disagreements arose over strategy.

The latest proposed political savior for all “moderates,” which has seemingly run into major difficulties, follows a long list of potential new centrist parties that have never materialized.

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

“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 organization.”

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 program of activity.”

The Anglo-Canadian’s curriculum vitae includes stints with investment banks Credit Suisse as global head of commodities and Goldman Sachs as their managing director – not exactly breaking the establishment mold with those job roles.

He describes himself as an “angel investor” and stood as an independent in the Witney by-election in Oxfordshire, which was triggered when ex-PM David Cameron quit parliament after losing the EU referendum in 2016.

Franks is reported to have garnered investment worth £50 million ($64.9 million) with the entrepreneur putting in a seven-figure sum himself. Potential members are told to expect “an organization that reflects the brilliance and potential of modern Britain in 2018.”

It comes after former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron called on Labour and Conservative MPs to “grow a flipping backbone” in recent days and set up a new party, insisting that it would have the support of the Lib Dems.

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