More United is a cross-party political movement in the United Kingdom. It describes itself as a "tech-driven political startup" that supports candidates regardless of party affiliation. The movement advocates public service investment, democratic reform, a green economy, tolerant society, and co-operation with the EU.
|Founded||24 July 2016|
- Opportunity: we need a fair economy that bridges the gap between rich and poor.
- Tolerance: we want to live in a free, diverse society where our differences are celebrated and respected.
- Democracy: we want you to have real influence over politics.
- Environment: we must do everything possible to tackle climate change and protect our environment.
- Openness: we welcome immigration, but understand it must work for everyone, and believe in bringing down international barriers, not raising them. We also want a close relationship with Europe.
Following the result of the 2016 UK referendum on EU membership, in which the country voted to withdraw from the European Union, there was considerable media discussion concerning the future of the British centre ground. Press rumours of a split in the Labour Party had occurred since Jeremy Corbyn's election as leader in 2015; this intensified after pro-EU members of his shadow cabinet resigned in protest of his allegedly weak support for the Remain campaign, leading to a leadership challenge by Owen Smith. The Conservatives also faced the prospect of an ideological split, as some pro-EU Conservatives feared the potential consequences of Andrea Leadsom defeating Theresa May in the leadership election; Leadsom ultimately withdrew from the race, handing unopposed victory to May. Paddy Ashdown, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats, wrote an article in The Times accusing both parties of failing to provide reasonable solutions to the issues afflicting communities across Britain.
More United was founded in July 2016 by a team drawn from business, academia, and politics: Austin Rathe, Bess Mayhew, Corinne Sawers and Maurice Biriotti. They received support from cross party MPs, led by Paddy Ashdown.
On 23 November 2016, More United launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to help support candidates. By 22 December, the campaign had raised £274,164.
Following the 2017 election, More United conducted UK-wide and online consultations with supporters to identify their priorities for the movement. The issues supporters identified as being the most important to campaign on were the NHS, equality and Brexit. More United has since selected its campaigns based on this information.
- NHS/Brexit Campaign, 2018
In February 2017, More United launched a campaign to secure a Parliamentary debate on how Brexit will impact the NHS, arguing that the government has not given this question sufficient consideration. Thousands of supporters were mobilised to contact their MPs in support of the campaign, which led to 47 MPs from five parties submitting a request for a backbench business debate. That debate was held in Parliament on 22 March.
- Campaign to restore the Access to Elected Office Fund, 2018
In April 2018, More United supported the launch of a legal challenge against the government, led by three deaf and disabled candidates of different parties, all of whom are also Members of More United. The focus of the challenge was to get the government to restore a Fund that existed from 2012-2015 to help deaf and disabled candidates of all parties, at all levels, with the extra costs of standing for election. The Fund was frozen and placed under review in 2015, but no findings from the review or a decision on the Fund's future had been published in nearly three years. More United launched a campaign alongside the legal challenge, with thousands of supporters signing a petition to get the government to restore the Fund.
This campaign received endorsement from 19 of the UK's most prominent deaf and disabled people, who came together from across the realms of business, entertainment, academia and politics to publish an open letter of support in The Sunday Times. The campaign also received backing from three disabled MPs from three parties. Labour MP Marsha de Cordova, Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Lloyd and Conservative MP Robert Halfon co-wrote a letter to the Home Office asking for the immediate restoration of the Fund.
In addition to its founders, a number of prominent public figures have endorsed the movement's launch so far, with the following being listed as the organisation's Convenors:
- Josh Babarinde, social entrepreneur and youth worker
- Maurice Birotti, businessman and academic
- Jeremy Bliss, lawyer and entrepreneur
- Clare Gerada, medical practitioner
- Sunny Hundal, columnist and lecturer
- Anne-Marie Imafidon, social tech entrepreneur
- Martha Lane Fox, entrepreneur
- Gia Milinovich, writer and presenter
- Maajid Nawaz, author, activist and columnist
- Jonathon Porritt, environmentalist
- Luke Pritchard, musician and entertainer
- Simon Schama, writer, broadcaster and professor
- Janet Smith, former Lady Justice of Appeal
- Dan Snow, broadcaster
- Rumi Vergee, entrepreneur and philanthropist
- "MORE UNITED LTD - Overview (free company information from Companies House)". Beta.companieshouse.gov.uk. 19 July 2016. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
- Shead, Sam (24 July 2016). "Paddy Ashdown has launched a tech-driven political startup called More United that will crowdfund MPs across all parties". Retrieved 24 July 2016.
- "Our Principles". Retrieved 24 July 2016.
- Daniel Boffey and Toby Helm (9 July 2016). "Pro-EU Labour and Tory MPs look at forming a new centrist party". The Guardian.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
- Matthew Turner (12 July 2016). "Here's why a new party of the centre-ground is doomed to fail". The Independent.
- Paddy Ashdown (3 July 2016). "Parties fail to feed the public's hunger for a solution". The Times.
- "Richmond Park By-Election Explained". Retrieved 4 December 2016.
- "More United Crowdfund". Retrieved 29 December 2016.
- Josiah Mortimer (4 May 2017). "More United name progressive candidates in line for share of £80,000". Left Food Forward.
- "The team". Retrieved 18 January 2017.