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New party aims to persuade voters to ‘reconsider’ Brexit

Renew is launching a ‘Listen to Britain’ tour and taking advice from French President Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche.

Leaders of a new political party aiming to stop Brexit are preparing to launch their campaign with a “listen to Britain” tour of towns and universities across the country.

The Renew party has recruited some 220 candidates to stand in local and national elections – with the first test coming in London and English councils in May – and many of them are expected to gather this weekend for their first mass training session.

Representatives of Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche will attend the London event to give advice on tactics for catapulting a new party into the political mainstream.

But leaders of the party played down suggestions that Renew was an attempt to replicate the French president’s political agenda in the UK.

“The EU referendum was a wake-up call that the UK is a nation divided, with mass discontent at inequality, national identity and regional, social and generational differences,” said Sandra Khadhouri, a former UN worker who is one of Renew’s three “principals”, alongside accountant James Torrance and start-up strategy consultant James Clarke.

Renew aims to provide a rallying point for millions of people, particularly in the younger generation, who feel “politically homeless” in the wake of the EU referendum and regard the traditional parties as “weak, divided and out of touch”, Ms Khadouri said.

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Mr Torrance stood as an anti-Brexit independent in last year’s snap election and took just 393 votes in Kensington, though his tally was larger than the margin of defeat for Leave-backing Tory Victoria Borwick.

The new party’s operations and small staff are currently funded by a single donor and it is not expected to unveil any celebrity backers or defectors from the mainstream parties at its launch.

It is using the slogan “People from outside politics to renew Britain’s hope”, though its leaders made clear they are open to discussions with sympathetic members of existing parties.

Ms Khadhouri said Renew would call on voters to “reconsider” the decision made in 2016, now that the consequences of EU withdrawal are becoming clearer.

“Polls show many are changing their minds and the Conservative Government is forcing through a damaging hard Brexit without a clear mandate. Renew proposes that social change and progress can only be delivered without the cost, complications and distraction of an unnecessary Brexit.”

The “Listen to Britain” tour is intended to 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.

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