More United name progressive candidates in line for share of £80,000

The campaign group More United have announced the slate of a dozen candidates they will be donating to for the General Election, following a vote of members.

The centre-left cross-party organisation, set up by the Lib Dems’ Paddy Ashdown and others in the wake of Labour MP Jo Cox’s killing last year, have voted to back eight Labour candidates, two Greens, and two Lib Dems.

While the decision to back Caroline Lucas MP is perhaps to be expected, the funding for Vix Lowthian is a huge boost to the Greens’ campaign in the Isle of Wight, where the party came third after the Conservatives and UKIP in 2015.

With 69.2% of members voting, the first candidates More United will support this election are:

• Amna Ahmad, Sutton & Cheam (Liberal Democrat)
• Rosena Allin-Khan, Tooting (Labour)
• Kelly Marie-Blundell, Lewes (Labour)
• Jack Dromey, Birmingham Erdington (Labour)
• Liz Kendall, Leicester West (Labour)
• Stephen Kinnock, Aberavon (Labour)
• Clive Lewis, Norwich South (Labour)
• Vix Lowthian, Isle of Wight (Green)
• Caroline Lucas, Brighton Pavillion (Green)
• Ian Lucas, Wrexham (Labour)
• Tessa Munt, Wells (Liberal Democrat)
• Gareth Thomas, Harrow West (Labour)

All candidates received over 73% of the vote in favour of support, ‘a ringing endorsement of their campaign,’ according to the group.

More United takes its name from the maiden speech of Jo Cox MP, in which she said of Batley and Spen that ‘while we celebrate our diversity, what surprises me time and time again as I travel around the constituency is that we are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us.’

£79,000 will be transferred to the candidates today, split between each of their campaigns.

There will be further votes of which parties to back in the coming weeks.

15,000 people signed up to back the organisation following its launch last July, while the group is understood to have hundreds of thousands of pounds, after a high-profile crowdfunding campaign in December saw nearly 9,000 people raise £275,000 for the organisation.

The £79,000 is in addition to that amount, following another successful crowdfunding push in April.

In an email to supporters, Bess Mayhew, CEO of More United, said:

“It’s difficult to overestimate how ground-breaking this is in British politics.
“Never has such a large amount been raised through crowdfunding and then donated to people, not parties. You have begun disrupting politics on a huge scale. And there will be more to come.
“Keep your eyes open for more candidate votes very soon.”

Gina Miller’s pro-European ‘Best for Britain’ movement will also be tactically funding ‘soft Brexit’-supporting candidates in the run up to the election – again, following a successful crowdfunder of over £360,000.

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