A daft waste of time: Labour MPs react to 'plans for new party'

John McDonnell has led a string of Labour MPs to pour scorn on reported plans for a new political party said to have been under secret development for more than a year.

With access of up to £50 million in funding, the movement comprises a network of entrepreneurs, philanthropists and donors keen to "break the Westminster mould", according to The Observer.

However the plans for a centrist challenger party were dismissed by the shadow chancellor and two of his frontbench colleagues.

Mr McDonnell tweeted: "That's a novel idea. A party of the rich, by the rich, for the rich. A party for the few not the many."

Shadow health and social care secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: "For goodness sake, what a daft waste of time. Anyone putting money into this nonsense would be better off investing in our campaign to restore and rebuild our NHS."

Jon Trickett, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, tweeted: "A new political party with £50m in the kitty, no members, no rule book, no ideology. Perhaps with support from sections of the British Establishment. A plaything for the rich?

"Let's focus on the task in hand: building a social movement which will change our country for good."

Their sentiments were echoed by Colne Valley MP Thelma Walker, who said it was "just what our country doesn't need", while Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell tweeted: "Sounds like a bad idea, over-hyped."

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