Lovefilm founder reportedly behind £50m push to found new centrist party

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Simon Franks is said to be creating a new centrist party (Source: Getty)

The multimillionaire founder of the Lovefilm film rental service is running a £50m project to start a new political party, according to reports.

Simon Franks, who co-founded the DVD rental and streaming service before it was sold to Amazon in 2011, is the director of a company, Project One Movement for the UK, which will be the body behind the party, according to the Observer.

The company was incorporated in August 2017, according to a filing on Companies House, with Franks as its sole director and shareholder.

Read more: Labour donor Mills warns against attempts to create a new centrist party

Franks will put in £50m, with a likelihood of running candidates at the 2022 General Election if other parties are deemed to be failing, the Observer said.

Franks has previously donated money to the Labour party, including to former shadow chancellor Ed Balls in 2014, but the group backing the new movement may also include former Tory donors.

There have been persistent calls for a new centrist party since the EU referendum in 2016, with both the main parties, Labour and the Conservatives, riven by divisions over Brexit.

However, a new party would need significant financial backing to make a dent in the two main parties' standing, in part because of the need to campaign in constituencies across the UK. Under the first past the post electoral system votes concentrated in one constituency have no bearing on the broader outcome.

Previous efforts at a breakaway centrist party, such as the Social Democratic Party in the early 1980s, have failed to dislodge the incumbents, while the Liberal Democrat party which succeeded it has waned in power since forming part of the Coalition government from 2010 to 2015.

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