Ex-May policy adviser urges cross-party drive to end…

Theresa May’s former policy chief is calling for a new-cross party drive to counter the rise of anti-capitalism and populist extremism and end Britain’s “Brexit civil war”.

Tory MP George Freeman has combined with former Labour minister and Tony Blair adviser Baroness Morgan to stage the Big Tent Ideas Fest, bringing together politicians from across the political spectrum.

The event – to be held in Cambridge on September 8 – takes place amid growing concern that Britain is heading for a politically divisive ”no deal” Brexit as negotiations in Brussels remain deadlocked.

Mr Freeman said that in such circumstances it was essential mainstream politicians were able to address the mood of popular discontent which drove the 2016 EU referendum vote.

“Brexit represented a populist roar from a disillusioned British electorate at a host of grievances. Mainstream politics must respond,” he said.

“How can we end the Brexit civil war and unite the country around a new vision for beyond-Brexit Britain? The Big Tent is a place where people alienated by Brexit party politics can ask those questions of their politicians.”

Speakers slated to appear at the event include Tory cabinet ministers Michael Gove and Penny Mordaunt – who both campaigned for Leave – Labour frontbencher Liam Byrne and the party’s former deputy leader Harriet Harman.

Mr Freeman has said he has already secured the backing of French president Emmanuel Macron for the initiative.

In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, he suggested that it was intended to appeal to those alienated by “hard left Corbynism” and “hard right [Nigel] Farageism”.

The event is likely to fuel speculation that a no deal Brexit could lead to the formation of a new centrist party, with the established parties fracturing under the strain.

Lady Morgan said: “Brexit has fractured the political landscape.

“More than ever we need to be able to meet and talk openly about the big policy challenges facing the UK.”

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