David Davis's former chief of staff James Chapman to launch new anti-Brexit political party

 
Jasper Jolly
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James Chapman has launched his campaign via Twitter (Source: James Chapman/Twitter)

A former top Conservative government aide has announced his intention to launch a new anti-Brexit party aiming to appeal to voters who oppose the UK's departure from the EU.

Chapman has worked as former chancellor George Osborne's director of communications and then as chief of staff for Brexit secretary David Davis. However, since quitting the Department for Exiting the EU after the recent General Election he has begun a campaign to stop Britain leaving the EU, carried out mainly on Twitter.

Before Osborne tempted him to the Treasury, Chapman worked at the stridently pro-Brexit Daily Mail as political editor for six years.

In a statement announcing the new party, Chapman said: "The march on Parliament will be for members of all parties and none – but I will be announcing my intention to lead a new party, the Democrats, which will reverse Brexit with no second referendum."

Read more: There’s still all to play for in the Brexit debate

Along with pledging to reverse the result of last June's referendum Chapman has also said his party would seek to return the Elgin marbles to Greece as a gesture of good will.

Chapman has so far struggled to gain support from any serving MPs for his new party. Nicky Morgan, the Conservative MP who is Treasury select committee head and a former cabinet minister, wrote this week that she would not join a new party.

Writing on the Conservative Home website yesterday, she described Chapman's efforts as a "silly season" story.

She said: "A new party formed solely to deal with the Brexit fallout and then, supposedly, tying together moderates and centrists from existing parties would be a party which would quickly collapse under its own contradictions."

Labour politicians have also dismissed the idea. Andrew Adonis, a Labour peer who served in the government of Tony Blair, said any attempt to form a breakaway centrist party would only split the left. Adonis was a former founder member of Social Democratic Party, which broke away from Labour in 1981 but failed to win enough votes to seriously challenge for government.

In Progress magazine last week he wrote: "It is therefore hard to see that a new SDP could achieve anything more than the last one.”

Read more: Davis lays cards on the table: Brexit secretary sets out customs vision

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