Saturday, June 22Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Laurence Fox’s ‘Reclaim Party’

Laurence Fox used to be known more for his acting in TV Shows such as
Lewis and Victoria, and films such as Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Now he’s
apparently a politician.

Fox first politically came to the public’s attention last January after
controversial interviews and debates on Good Morning Britain and Question
Time over Sam Mendes’ 1917’s choice to include Sikh soldiers in the WW1 film.
Fox claimed that it was ‘forced diversity’ and continued to comment on Megan
Markle’s treatment by the press and the ‘woke’ generation as well as saying
that he would boycott the British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s after it
announced support of Black History Month.

In April he ran for London Mayor after announcing in November 2020 that he
was founding ‘The Reclaim Party’ due to his disappointment in the
Conservative party’s inability to ‘conserve’ and uphold British values. What
these values are for Fox are still not yet clear, although the main issue seems
to be ‘respect’ and reclaiming Britain’s past – assuming a more nationalistic
view perhaps. He also appears pro-diversity, and in previous interviews has urged for ‘progress’ rather than ‘stagnation’ (which Fox claims is the current societal state under Conservative government.) The Reclaim Party already has
its own Facebook and Twitter accounts and are using the slogan ‘Your
freedom. Reclaim it’ in a move from ‘Reason / Reform / Progress’.

Pitting this party against the conservatives seems like an interesting move for
a former supporter. By potentially taking votes away from the conservatives,
Fox is ironically increasing the chances of a labour majority. According to the
party’s website, they are calling themselves a ‘movement’; perhaps they want
to bring about change by giving a platform to their beliefs rather than run for

The party is currently going through the electoral commission and Fox and his
fellow party members have a few years yet to come up with a manifesto.
Originally it was going to be broadcast that the party was in association with
Nigel Farage (former leader of UKIP). Fox has said that they had to announce
the Party prematurely not wishing to be associated with this rumour. Having
already raised £5 million (The Telegraph), Fox has said that supporters have
been thanking him for giving them a voice that they were previously too
frightened to use. Fox has put this down to ‘Woke’ and ‘Cancel’ culture; he
claims his main reason for creating the party is to promote freedom of speech,
taking a more individualistic approach whilst promoting unity rather than
division. In a recent interview, Fox said that ‘I know we’ll be seen as a culture
wars UKIP.’ Many think ‘culture wars’ is more of an American term associated
with extreme controversies and divides of religion, race and political stance.
Recently, it has been used in Britain to talk about the Brexit Polarisation and
other increasing divisions. Many argue that although there is division in the
UK, it has, on the whole, been less extreme than in American and central
European culture. Now, with further controversy around vaccination for
Covid-19 (Fox is anti-vaccination) these divides appear to be widening.

The formation of a new Party, especially during these unprecedented
times, is a divisie move by Fox. Despite the feeling one gets that The Reclaim
Party only stands to reclaim historically non-oppressed and mainstream
narratives, it’s creation does reveal that there are deep divisions in Britain’s
political landscape, and a certain percentage of people feel unrepresented.
That cannot go ignored. Whether these are the beginnings of a ‘culture war’ is
uncertain but the platforms are forming to mix things up in Parliament – the
shame is that party-formation is becoming a protest of sorts, and causing
increasing civil unrest.

What do you think? Is Fox standing for division or Unity? How can we unite in
these opposing times?

Image credit: Photo by Massimiliano Morosinotto on Unsplash