**Pro-EU Labour and Tory MPs look at forming a new centrist party
Tory and Labour MPs have held informal discussions about establishing a new political party in the event of Andrea Leadsom becoming prime minister and Jeremy Corbyn staying as Labour leader, a cabinet minister has disclosed.
Senior players in the parties have discussed founding a new centrist grouping in the mould of the Social Democratic party (SDP) should the two main parties polarise, according to the minister. Talks should be taken seriously, though they are still at an early stage, according to the source.
“There have been talks between Labour and Tory MPs about a new party,” the minister said. “A number of my colleagues would not feel comfortable in a party led by Andrea Leadsom.”
It is understood that MPs in both parties who campaigned to remain in the European Union believe there is an opportunity to build on the newly founded relationships between centrist MPs in both parties made before the EU referendum.
A Tory party source said Labour and Conservative MPs who campaigned in favour had become closer during the campaign and increasingly come to regard themselves as “a tribe”. **
“Nothing will happen until the Tory leadership election, but people are talking about this in the tearooms [in parliament],” the source said.
A senior Labour party source confirmed that at least one Conservative minister and one of the shadow cabinet ministers who resigned last week had been involved in discussions about such a reshaping of British politics.
“There is a feeling that there might have to be a new party at the centre of British politics,” he said. “It’s early days, but the conversations are at a pretty high level.”
The suggestion comes as the Liberal Democrat peer Shirley Williams demands a central role for all pro-EU parties at Westminster in shaping the UK’s relationship with the EU. She warns that, without a cross-party consensus on the final deal, the country could fall apart in bitter post-Brexit division and acrimony.