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Countdown star Rachel Riley joins Labour rebels to plot a ‘Blairite’ party

Countdown star Rachel Riley joins Labour rebels to plot a ‘Blairite’ party and calls for JK Rowling to be its leader was greeted with applause at secret meeting of supporters

  • Rachel Riley teams up with former Blair government advisers to form new party 
  • A secret meeting was held in London on plans for a pro-European centrist party  
  • The organisers emphasised the need for a charismatic party leader to succeed 
  • Tony Blair’s former Chief of Staff, Jonathan Powell and former Blair speechwriter Philip Collins told guests that they aim to launch the party later this year

Countdown star Rachel Riley and Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling’s agent are teaming up with advisers from Tony Blair’s Government to launch a breakaway Labour Party within weeks.

The plotters, led by Blair’s former Chief of Staff, Jonathan Powell, addressed about 50 ‘potential supporters of a new political movement’ to stop Jeremy Corbyn getting the keys to No 10, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

The secret meeting on Tuesday night was held in the Central London offices of Ms Rowling’s agent, Neil Blair, where Powell and former Blair speechwriter Philip Collins delivered plans for a new pro-European centrist party.

Oxford-educated Ms Riley, who is Jewish, revealed last month that her Channel 4 bosses ordered extra protection after she publicly criticised Corbyn and received threats from his hard- Left followers [File photo]

The proposed party does not yet have a leader but there was rapturous applause after one audience member called for Ms Rowling to take charge. She is a noted Labour supporter and donor – but also an outspoken critic of Corbyn.

Powell and Collins told guests over drinks and canapes that they aim to launch the party later this year, following Britain’s EU exit on March 29. They claimed their yet-to-be-named party could eventually win up to 100 seats. 

The pair also raised the running sore of anti-Semitism in Labour, which was cited as a key reason behind the planned breakaway.

The proposed party does not yet have a leader but there was rapturous applause after one audience member called for Ms Rowling (above) to take charge. She is a noted Labour supporter and donor – but also an outspoken critic of Corbyn [File photo]

At the meeting were Ms Riley and former EastEnders star Tracy Ann Oberman, who have both been attacked by Labour supporters for criticising Corbyn’s handling of the anti-Semitism crisis.

Oxford-educated Ms Riley, who is Jewish, revealed last month that her Channel 4 bosses ordered extra protection after she publicly criticised Corbyn and received threats from his hard- Left followers.

After the rebels’ meeting, one source said: ‘There was a presentation which lasted for about 45 minutes and was followed by a Q&A. The organisers emphasised the need for a charismatic leader for the party to succeed. But they made it clear they are unsure who that is at the moment. One attendee suggested J. K. Rowling – which got a large round of applause.

‘They emphasised that a new centrist movement has the opportunity to attract people with a more nuanced approach to politics and life – and that is why they believe they can succeed where the SDP failed.’

At the meeting were Ms Riley and former EastEnders star Tracy Ann Oberman (above), who have both been attacked by Labour supporters for criticising Corbyn’s handling of the anti-Semitism crisis [File photo]

At the meeting were Ms Riley and former EastEnders star Tracy Ann Oberman (above), who have both been attacked by Labour supporters for criticising Corbyn’s handling of the anti-Semitism crisis [File photo]

The Social Democratic Party was formed in 1981 by four senior Labour moderates and eventually merged with the Liberal Party.

The invitation to Tuesday’s meeting declared: ‘We are hosting a drinks reception at 7pm on Tuesday 5th February for potential supporters of a new political movement that Britain desperately needs. This is an initiative led by Jonathan Powell and Philip Collins. Britain is stuck. The promise that the next generation will be better off than their parents is broken. Inequality is tearing the country apart.

‘Housing is too expensive, earnings are static and the quality of work is too poor for too many. The world is changing fast and we’re retreating from it… the old parties cannot face the future because they have run out of answers, energy and leadership.

‘That is why Jonathan and Philip are building a new political movement to move Britain on to a better politics.’

Ms Rowling is a friend of former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown and donated £1 million to the party in 2008. However, she has used social media to mock Corbyn’s position on Brexit.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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