Referendum campaign groups
On 13th April 2016, after reviewing a number of applications, the Electoral Commission designated the official lead campaigns for both sides:
The In Campaign Ltd (Britain Stronger in Europe) is the lead campaigner for the Remain outcome
Vote Leave Ltd is the lead campaigner for the Leave outcome
Each lead campaign group is given:
- A spending limit of £7 million
- One free distribution of information to voters
- The use of certain public rooms
- Referendum campaign broadcasts
- A grant of up to £600,000 to be used for certain spending including the administration costs associated with setting up and running a referendum campaign and the costs associated with the TV broadcasts and free mailing to voters that they are entitled to as lead campaigners
Other groups are more limited in what they can spend:
- Unregistered campaigners can spend up to £10,000.
- Registered campaigners’ spending limit is £700,000.
- Registered Political parties can spend up to a maximum of £7,000,000 depending on their percentage share of the vote at the 2015 General Election.
Britain Stronger In Europe
Britain Stronger In Europe is the primary cross-party Remain campaign. Lord Stuart Rose, former chief executive of Marks & Spencer, is the group’s Chairman and Will Straw, son of former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, is its executive director. The group is supported by prominent businesspeople including Karren Brady (The Apprentice), Richard Reed (Innocent Smoothies) and Carolyn McCall (EasyJet).
The campaign is supported by politicians including David Cameron, Peter Mandelson, Danny Alexander and Caroline Lucas.
On 13th April, Britain Stronger in Europe became the official lead campaign group for remain after an uncontested application. It submitted its application as ‘The In Campaign Ltd’.
Labour In For Britain
Labour In For Britain is the Labour party’s Remain campaign, formed because many Labour figures did not want to appear on the same platform as other parties’ representatives. It is led by former Home Secretary and Health Secretary Alan Johnson.
Labour in for Britain should not be confused with Labour for Britain, which is an earlier name of Labour Leave, a group campaigning for Brexit.
Conservatives In is the Conservative party’s Remain campaign, formed after David Cameron announced the results of his EU renegotiation in February. It is supported by the prime minister and the majority of his cabinet.
On 13th April, Vote Leave became the official lead campaign group for a leave outcome. It submitted its application as ‘The Vote Leave Ltd’. Representatives of the competing application, ‘GO Movement Ltd’, have pledged their support to Vote Leave and will work together to put the leave case to the public.
The former Conservative Chancellor Lord Nigel Lawson is its Chairman and veteran campaigner Matthew Elliott is its chief executive. It enjoys the support of prominent Conservatives including Boris Johnson, Iain Duncan Smith, Chris Grayling, Priti Patel and Michael Gove, as well as the Ukip MP Douglas Carswell.
Leave.EU is a rival Leave campaign , founded and led by businessmen Arron Banks and Richard Tice. Its CEO is Liz Bilney and it has fewer political backers, partly due to its position as an anti-establishment non-Westminster group. It is closely affiliated with Grassroots Out.
Grassroots Out was originally founded as a popular movement that would help campaign for Brexit but would not aim to be chosen as the official campaigner by the Electoral Commission. It was founded by Peter Bone MP and has the support of Nigel Farage, Kate Hoey MP, and Sammy Wilson MP.
The group later united with Leave.EU to submit an application to the Electoral Commission for the lead campaign designation. Its application was submitted under the name ‘GO Movement Ltd’. After a tight contest, the commission chose Vote Leave as the official campaign group. Original founder Peter Bone MP pledged support to Vote Leave.
Conservatives for Britain
Conservatives for Britain is the Conservative Party’s Leave campaign. The President is Lord Nigel Lawson. It is chaired by Steve Baker MP and David Campbell Bannerman MEP and has a lot of support from Conservative backbench MPs.
Labour LEAVE is the Labour party’s campaign to leave. It was founded by John Mills, founder and chairman of JML, and Kate Hoey MP for members of the Labour Party who are campaigning to leave. It was initially named as Labour for Britain.
The Leave Alliance
Launched in March 2016, the Leave Alliance is a network of political groups and bloggers advocating Brexit. According to them, a credible exit plan is crucial to the Leave campaign’s success in the referendum. They have put forward their own exit plan called Flexcit, written by Richard North and Robert Oulds of the Bruges Group.
The Leave Alliance currently consists of seven organisations: the Bruges Group, Campaign for an Independent Britain, Futurus, EU Referendum Blog, Blogger’s Army, Restore Britain’s Fish and the Harrogate Agenda.
The Leave campaign is also supported by the business lobby groups like Business for Britain. Sir Michael Hintze, founder of hedge fund CQS, and Odey Asset Management’s Crispin Odey also support Leave.