Cabinet ministers 'in touch' after call for formation of centrist party

A former chief of staff to the Brexit Secretary has claimed two Cabinet ministers have contacted him expressing sympathy for his calls for centrist MPs to form a new party.

James Chapman, who worked for David Davis following the EU referendum last year, said the Conservative Party would never again get a majority because its brand had been so badly damaged.

Mr Chapman has voiced criticism of Brexit in recent days in a series of remarks on Twitter, and told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Two people in the Cabinet now, a number of people who have been in Conservative cabinets before now, better cabinets I might say than the current one, and a number of shadow cabinet ministers have also been in touch.

"They're not saying that they are going to quit their parties but they are saying they understand that there is an enormous gap in the centre now of British politics, the two main parties have been captured by the fringes."

Mr Chapman went on to say: "My view is that the Conservative Party brand has now been damaged to such an extent that the party won't be elected again and ever again get a majority.

"There are times in our national life when you have to put your nation before your country and what the hard Brexit plan Mrs (Theresa) May is pursuing in going to take the economy off a cliff, it's going to make Black Wednesday look like a picnic and when that happens the Conservative Party will never be in power again."

However Brexit-backing Jacob Rees-Mogg, MP for North East Somerset, said he would be "very surprised" if Mr Chapman was correct.

He told the programme: "I think most people in the high levels of the party and across the Conservative Party and the nation have accepted the democratic result of the referendum a year ago."

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