Working-class kids who fought Laurence Fox over charity name call him 'entitled'

Olivia Clarke was “totally shocked” when she heard actor Laurence Fox was setting up a new political party called Reclaim.

To Fox’s supporters, The Reclaim Party is a “culture wars UKIP” bankrolled by Jeremy Hosking, a multi-millionaire investment tycoon who has previously funded Vote Leave, the Conservatives and Brexit Party.

To 18-year-old Olivia, RECLAIM is the Manchester charity for working-class young people she has been a part of since the age of 11.

The young woman from a council home in Fallowfield, where 47% of children live in poverty, had no hesitation in taking on the privileged scion of a famous thespian dynasty educated at Harrow School and RADA.

“To me, ‘reclaim’ is not just a word, it’s who we are,” Olivia, a learning support assistant, says.

“It’s not a name to give up or give away lightly. I was shocked by Laurence Fox’s entitlement.

Laurence Fox appears on Good Morning Britain in January

“That someone with that sort of money and a position in society feels like they will just get away with taking our name.

“As a working-class young woman, I’m used to people trying to sideline me, but we’re not going to be ignored again. We’re not willing to give up the name, and we don’t want the ­association.”

She laughs, briefly.

“The charity staff team have already had to deal with people contacting them trying to stand for election!”

So far Olivia has crowdfunded £17,500 for a RECLAIM fighting fund – a huge sum for the charity but not quite Fox’s millions.

Meanwhile, the charity has presented Fox with a legal “cease and desist” letter, warning him to stop using the name Reclaim for his project.

Olivia Clarke, 18, from RECLAIM charity

Fox alluded to this in a TV interview this week, saying “we are having one or two issues” with his new party’s name.

Fox replied to RECLAIM via twitter.

Olivia says, “He said: ‘I’ve looked into your charity and I support what you’re doing’.”

“But if he supports what we’re doing, then don’t take our name. It’s taken us 10 years to establish ourselves within the community and we don’t want to be pushed aside.

“He could have picked any name, so why choose to take something from working-class young people? It’s completely wrong.”

It’s a fight that’s about more than a name.

RECLAIM empowers working-class young people to change society, saying that “a challenging upbringing should be seen as a strength not a weakness”.

The Reclaim Party has positioned itself as a culture war warrior group

Meanwhile, the son of actor James Fox, nephew of Edward, and cousin of Freddie and Emilia, once told acting legend Julie Walters to “please shut up” for highlighting the struggle working-class actors face to break into his industry.

The Reclaim Party appears to be in the tradition of right-wing movements that want to separate the white working class from the wider working people.

In his introductory video to The Reclaim Party, which has been watched 370,000 times, Fox singles out white working-class boys.

“How can Laurence Fox have an understanding of what it means to be working class?” Olivia asks.

“It feels to me that the Reclaim Party is more going against working-class people. My parents are both self-employed and they are both in high-risk groups for coronavirus so things aren’t easy.

“I come from a council home in Fallowfield. There are many negative stereotypes about us, and neighbouring Moss Side.

“But it’s a place that’s really community based, and it’s a very diverse area. It’s not about the ‘white working class’.

“When people think about the working class, they always think of a white man going to a certain type of work. They don’t think of people of different cultures, ethnicities, ­religions, doing different jobs. We’re not all builders.”

The Reclaim Party’s name still has to win the approval of the Electoral Commission, but Fox insists “every time I think of Reclaim, often I do think of a reclamation yard and I rather like it”.

A spokesman for the Reclaim party project has said: “We are aware of the charity’s view. Lawyers are looking at their recent contention.”

On Thursday night they were unavailable for further comment.

Like UKIP, Reclaim is an anti-politics party and anti-establishment, despite being the pet project of someone who comes from the establishment.

It has three staff members, is funded for five years and is said to be weighing up dozens of candidates to stand in next May’s Scottish elections, plus local elections in England.

With the twitter bio “A new political party led by Laurence Fox”, @TheReclaim Party has already gathered 25,000 followers.

It uses the hashtag #DontDivideUs yet was launched to the applause of divisive figures such as Darren Grimes, Toby Young, Nigel Farage and Claire Fox.

Laurence Fox called  a Question Time audience member racist.

He was also threatened with legal action by Stonewall deputy chair-man and charity CEO Simon Blake.

Fox had called Blake a ‘paedophile’ in what appeared to be a homophobic slur on Twitter amid a rant at Sainsbury’s for supporting Black Lives Matter – yet its introductory video asks sadly, “Who is trying to divide us?”

That same video ends with Fox saying the words “Tell your story”.

Olivia Clarke is determined to see that RECLAIM keeps supporting working-class young people like her, to tell theirs.


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more