February 19, 2018 / 12:34 PM / a month ago

New British party inspired by France's Macron seeks to overturn Brexit

LONDON (Reuters) - A new British political party inspired by French President Emmanuel Macron’s rise to power launched a national electoral campaign on Monday aimed at stopping Brexit.

The Renew party, which was founded last year after Macron’s En Marche! movement propelled him to power, said it would seek to stoke debate on Brexit and accused Britain’s main parties of losing touch with voters who feel abandoned by the elite.

“We intend to be tough on Brexit and tough on the causes of Brexit,” said James Torrance, the party’s head of strategy. “We’ll pressure MPs to consider the national interest and put Remain back on the table in a vote on the final EU deal.”

In the United Kingdom’s 2016 referendum, 51.9 percent, or 17.4 million people, voted to leave the EU while 48.1 percent, or 16.1 million, voted to stay.

Since then, supporters of EU membership have been exploring a range of legal and political methods to prevent what they see as the biggest mistake in post-World War Two British political history.

Prime Minister Theresa May, whose government and party is divided over Brexit, has just eight months to strike a withdrawal deal with the EU but insists Britain will leave at 2300 GMT on March 29, 2019.

Opponents of Brexit are trying to garner enough support in the lower house of parliament, the House of Commons, to block any possible withdrawal deal May brings back from Brussels in October.

Supporters of Brexit say any attempt to prevent Brexit will thrust Britain into a constitutional crisis.

Among those who have called for Brexit to be halted are former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Goldman Sachs Group Inc Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein and George Soros, who made a fortune by betting against the British pound in 1992.

Reporting by Andew MacAskill, editing by Guy Faulconbridge

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