A new party set up by the actor Laurence Fox to fight Britain’s culture wars has already received £5 million in donations, he has claimed, nearly matching the war chest assembled by Labour prior to last year’s election.
The sum was declared by Fox on Sunday as he officially launched Reclaim, a group he said would seek to promote free speech, overhaul allegedly biased public bodies and celebrate Britain’s national and cultural history.
It comes after The Sunday Telegraph disclosed that Fox had attracted over £1 million in funding, including substantial sums from former Tory donors.
The Rada-educated actor, the son of James Fox and who is best known for playing the lead role of DS James Hathaway in the British TV drama series Lewis, also hopes to stand dozens of candidates at the next general election.
The new party, which will aim to represent people who are tired of “being told that we represent the very thing we have, in history, stood together against,” has been dubbed the next “Ukip for culture”.
Welcoming an initial outpouring of support, Fox said: “What’s so encouraging is that I can already see people saying things that I haven’t read on here [Twitter] for years.
“Crazy things and dangerous things. Like sensible and rational opinions, expressed without fear. The narrative is already being reclaimed."
In desperate need of a new wardrobe. pic.twitter.com/eSfdPQS3dt— Laurence Fox 🇭🇰 (@LozzaFox) September 27, 2020
However, the announcement has provoked a backlash among Conservative supporters, among them Nimco Ali, a prominent anti-FGM campaigner and friend of Boris Johnson’s fiancée Carrie Symonds.
Hitting out at Fox’s mission statement on Twitter, Ms Ali wrote: “Someone gave him a million pounds for this.”
Responding, Fox said: “£5,000,000, actually.”
If accurate, the donations, which include pledges from former Tory donor Jeremy Hosking, would mean that Reclaim has raised almost as much as the Labour Party did in registered donations the six weeks prior to the 2019 snap election.
In a statement formally launching the group, Fox said: “Over many years it has become clear that our politicians have lost touch with the people they represent and govern. Moreover, our public institutions now work to an agenda beyond their main purpose.
"Our modern United Kingdom was borne out of the respectful inclusion of so many individual voices," he said.
"It is steeped in the innate values of families and communities, diverse in the truest sense but united in the want and need to call this island home.
"The people of the United Kingdom are tired of being told that we represent the very thing we have, in history, stood together against.
"We are all privileged to be the custodians of our shared heritage. We can reclaim a respectful nation where all are included and none are ashamed to have somewhere to call home."