Change UK wants to “restore sanity” to British politics, according to the anti-Brexit party’s lead candidate in Wales for the European parliamentary elections.
Jon Owen Jones said politics is “broken” and that both Labour and the Conservatives have both been taken over by the “extremes”.
He said Change UK is “effectively” a single-issue party for campaigning for a new EU vote.
The elections take place on May 23.
The party – originally known as The Independent Group – was initially formed at the start of the year by 11 MPs who quit Labour and the Tories.
In March, the group applied to become a party with the name Change UK and was given approval in April, meaning they could field candidates in the European elections.
Jon Owen Jones – the Labour MP for Cardiff Central between 1992 and 2005 – said it was an “enormously difficult decision” to leave his old party after 50 years of membership.
Speaking ahead of Change UK’s Welsh campaign launch at the Principality Stadium on Monday, Mr Jones told Clare Summers on BBC Radio Wales: “Europe is a symptom of the problem.
“Both the right-wing and the left-wing hate Europe because it stands as an obstacle for their own far-fetched ideological views and we need to stay in Europe and reunite the country around sensible politics.
“For all my political life, I’ve been for staying in Europe. I don’t understand why I should change my view now and I think the British public were conned in voting for an imaginary mechanism of leaving Europe that gave us everything we wanted when that was never, ever, ever going to be possible.
“I don’t think the European Union is a perfect organisation.
“The question before us isn’t between a perfect future and a flawed future, it’s between two flawed futures, one of which is much, much more flawed than the other one is,” he added.
Of the eight parties standing in Wales for the European parliamentary elections, four – Plaid Cymru, the Welsh Liberal Democrats, the Greens and Change UK – are unequivocally supportive of a second EU referendum.
Asked whether there was a danger of the “Remain” vote splitting, Mr Jones said: “We’re in complete agreement with Plaid Cymru about the danger of leaving the European Union to the Welsh economy, we just don’t understand how that’s consistent with Plaid Cymru demanding that we leave the British union – that surely would cause even greater damage.”
The European Parliament elections in Wales
There are eight parties fighting for four Welsh seats in the European elections on 23 May.
Welsh Labour, the Welsh Conservatives, Plaid Cymru, the Welsh Liberal Democrats, UKIP and the Green Party are joined by Change UK and the Brexit Party.