Analysis The Center Can Hold

Stirrings of Centrism in the United Kingdom

Voters in the middle feel both the Conservatives and Labour have become extreme.

London England
Aerial view of Big Ben and Westminster Abbey in London, England (Unsplash/Ricardo Frantz)

Miranda Green writes in the Financial Times that the polarization of British politics has caused some to wonder if there might be room for a new party or political movement in the center.

  • Conservative lawmaker Anna Soubry recently said “there are millions of people in this country who feel that there is not one political party that represents them.”
  • A group of entrepreneurs with serious money is clustered around Simon Franks, a former Labour donor.
  • Former prime minister Tony Blair is reportedly bringing together rebellious “sensibles” from all established parties with a view to collaborating at some point in the future.
  • Chris Coghlan and Annabel Mullin, two anti-Brexit politicians, have founded centrist new political parties in Battersea and Kensington, respectively.
  • Adam Knight, an angel investor who unsuccessfully ran in Witney — David Cameron’s old district — last year is said to be mulling a new movement.

Setting up a new party is a challenge under Britain’s first-past-the-post system.

But, as I argued here in June, both the Conservatives and Labour have left the center wide open.

The first has lurched to the right in embracing Brexit. The second has lurched to the left under Jeremy Corbyn. Millions of voters in the middle feel both parties have become extreme.