The Staggers 23 June 2017 Lord Sainsbury pulls funding from Progress and other political causes The longstanding Labour donor will no longer fund party political causes. Getty Sign UpGet the New Statesman's Morning Call email. Sign-up Centrist Labour MPs face a funding gap for their ideas after the longstanding Labour donor Lord Sainsbury announced he will stop financing party political causes. Sainsbury, who served as a New Labour minister and also donated to the Liberal Democrats, is instead concentrating on charitable causes. Lord Sainsbury funded the centrist organisation Progress, dubbed the “original Blairite pressure group”, which was founded in mid Nineties and provided the intellectual underpinnings of New Labour. The former supermarket boss is understood to still fund Policy Network, an international thinktank headed by New Labour veteran Peter Mandelson. He has also funded the Remain campaign group Britain Stronger in Europe. The latter reinvented itself as Open Britain after the Leave vote, and has campaigned for a softer Brexit. Its supporters include former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and Labour's Chuka Umunna, and it now relies on grassroots funding. Sainsbury said he wished to “hand the baton on to a new generation of donors” who supported progressive politics. Progress director Richard Angell said: “Progress is extremely grateful to Lord Sainsbury for the funding he has provided for over two decades. We always knew it would not last forever.” The organisation has raised a third of its funding target from other donors, but is now appealing for financial support from Labour supporters. Its aims include “stopping a hard-left take over” of the Labour party and “renewing the ideas of the centre-left”. › Okja begins as a buddy flick – but ends up in the slaughterhouse Julia Rampen is the digital night editor at the Liverpool Echo, and the former digital news editor of the New Statesman. She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. Subscribe For more great writing from our award-winning journalists subscribe for just £1 per month!