Vote Leave

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Vote Leave logo, Source: Vote Leave, Take Control Vote Leave website

Vote Leave was the official 'leave' cross-party campaign group seeking withdrawal from the European Union in the United Kingdom's referendum held on 23 June 2016.

The campaign counted six members of the Conservative political cabinet in its senior ranks, and included justice minister Michael Gove.

Being designated as the official leave campaign over Nigel Farage's Grassroots Out, Vote Leave had access to up to £7 million it has raised itself, as well as £600,000 of taxpayer money to make it's case for leaving the European Union. [1]

The 'Vote Leave' campaign secured a 'Leave' vote from the British electorate on 23 June 2016, taking 51.9% of the vote and producing a majority of 1,269,501 votes. [2]

Staff

Key political figures

Strategy

Lobbying firm Weber Shandwick comments: 'The strategy of Vote Leave appears clear from the outset. It is to present the ‘out’ camp as representing the people and an ambitious vision for the future, set against the establishment vision of a Europe largely representing the interests of big corporate bosses.'[5]

British press biased in favour of Brexit

The press coverage on the UK's EU referendum is 'heavily skewed in favour of Brexit', a report by Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism has shown. Of the articles analysed in the research, 45% were in favour of a Brexit vote, while just 27% were in favour of remaining. The research also revealed that Conservative Party figures were far more likely to be quoted by publications, with a 69% share to the Labour Party's 14%.

The newspapers considered to have the least balance in terms of their coverage were the Daily Express and the Mirror, with most other publications attempting to cover the alternative view from their designated position. [6]

Big 'Vote Leave' donor turns out to be former BNP

Gladys Bramall, one of Vote Leave's biggest individual donors, has told news-site Buzzfeed that she was formerly a member of the far-right British National Party. The 88-year old, who has donated a total of £600,000 to the campaign (making her the third biggest individual donor) has her name appear on a leaked BNP membership list from 2006, when the party was being led by the notorious Nick Griffin, who has since left the part.

When contacted by Buzzfeed, Bramall confirmed that she would be found on the list, but that her husband Leonard Bramall had done it when signing himself up without her knowledge. 'My husband joined, he obviously enrolled me at the same time', she confirmed.

Michael Gove, current Justice secretary and one of the key political figures spearheading the case for leaving the EU, responded in the following fashion when questioned on the issue:

'I utterly abhor and reject the politics of the BNP and the people who support it...If this money comes from someone whose views are objectionable, then of course we’ll do everything that we can to make sure that money that comes from any tainted source is returned and plays no part in the campaign.'[7]

Brexit MPs demand Cameron set departure date

Conservative Party backbenchers are threatening Prime Minister David Cameron with a potential leadership challenge if he does not set out a retirement date after the EU referendum. The news comes in the wake of the Treasury paper published on 23 May 2016, which forecast recession and the loss of 820,000 jobs in the result of Brexit, and which has deepened the unhappiness with Cameron felt by swathes of Tory backbenchers. The Daily Mail claims that some MPs have already written letters of no confidence to Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 Committee.

If 50 MPs write letters of this kind, a vote of no confidence is automatically triggered, and would be the first since Conservative Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin's resignation in 1924. A Tory MP told the Mail: 'If there is a narrow win for Remain, and he is still in office after 23 June, the only way he is going to avoid a vote of no-confidence is to name the date when he is going to go...People want a date when they know that he will be gone. There is real anger.'

The Sun says that discontent in light of the Treasury paper even extends into the government, with two ministers said to have told Brexit MPs they were considering resignation. Other sources say that Chancellor George Osborne will also be in the firing line: 'How the f*** are they going to put the party back together after all this? It’s at breaking point now. There are some very principled colleagues backing Brexit who are just spitting today. George has gone too far this time.' [8]

Cameron 'plotting against' Vote Leave

Vote Leave have accused David Cameron of being 'knee deep in a conspiracy' to remain in the EU, as letters were leaked showing the Prime Minister's correspondence with big business surrounding its potential role in the Remain campaign, long before his attempts at renegotiation were finished. The letter in question concerns Serco's chief executive, Rupert Soames, who wrote to Cameron regarding talks they had had in early February and his plan to request that FTSE 500 companies mention the risks of 'Brexit' in their annual reports. At this time however, Mr Cameron still entertained the idea that if his negotiations were unsuccessful, he could campaign for a leave vote alongside some of his Tory colleagues, but has since come out strongly in favour of Britain's continued membership.

Gisela Stuart, chair of Vote Leave has said the PM has 'serious issues' to answer, and observed the irony of the Chancellor George Osborne's mocking of Brexit campaigners as 'conspiracy theorists': 'George Osborne accused the Leave campaign of inventing conspiracies. Now we see that David Cameron is knee deep in one.' [9]

Vote Leave embroiled in race row

The Vote Leave campaign has come under fire for 'stoking the fires of prejudice' by arguing that Turkey's supposed joining of the EU by 2020 will pose a threat to the security of British citizens. The report by the Brexit campaign asserts that Turkey's higher levels of criminality and gun ownership offer evidence for this claim, and defence minister Penny Mordaunt made a statement in support of this.

A campaign statement said the following: 'Since the birthrate in Turkey is so high, we can expect to see an additional million people added to the UK population from Turkey alone within eight years.This will not only increase the strain on Britain’s public services, but it will also create a number of threats to UK security. Crime is far higher in Turkey than the UK. Gun ownership is also more widespread. Because of the EU’s free movement laws, the government will not be able to exclude Turkish criminals from entering the UK.'

Trevor Phillips, former chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said that while immigration is certainly an issue that needs robustly debating, the leave campaign had hit a new low: 'There really isn’t any doubt that what they are appealing to here is straightforward prejudice. I can’t imagine what the sizeable, law-abiding, industrious Turkish community in the UK must feel when they hear this.This appears to be a straightforward admission that the Leave campaign has lost on every rational argument and now it is simply trying to stoke the fires of prejudice.' [10]

Donors

Recorded by the Electoral Commission:

Date Name of donor Amount
20/04/2016 Patrick Barbour £500,000.00
10/03/2016 Peter Cruddas £350,000.00
19/04/2016 Terence Adams £500,000.00 (two donations)
23/03/2016 Michael Farmer £300,000.00 (two donations)
07/04/2016 Jeremy Hosking £815,500.00 (five donations)
24/03/2016 Stuart Wheeler £615,000.00 (FIVE donations)
21/03/2016 David Lilley £150,000.00 (two donations)
14/03/2016 Michael Freeman £348,000.00 (four donations)
17/03/2016 Robert Hiscox £50,000.00
10/04/2016 Tim Martin £212,000.00 (three donations)
17/03/2016 Jon Moynihan £60,000.00 (two donations)
28/04/2016 WA Capital Ltd £50,000.00
12/04/2016 Harris Ventures Ltd £50,000.00
17/03/2016 Bristol Port Company £50,000.00
08/04/2016 Alan Halsall £30,000.00
10/02/2016 Quentin Skinner £40,000.00 (two donations)
01/04/2016 Jardentome Ltd £24,000.00
29/03/2016 William Hobhouse £20,000.00
23/03/2016 Albert Wiegman £28,000.00 (two donations)
01/02/2016 Alan Morgan £15,000.00
23/02/2016 Seaway Holdings £15,000.00
29/02/2016 Alexander Darwall £25,000.00 (two donations)
17/03/2016 Brian Kingham £15,000.00
24/03/2016 Rocco Forte £42,000.00 (two donations)
18/04/2016 Biwater Holdings Ltd £12,000.00
29/02/2016 Ivor Braka £10,000.00
29/02/2016 Shaftesbury Investments £45,000.00 (three donations)
14/04/2016 Leslie Kaye £10,000.00
04/04/2016 Stanley Kalms £30,000.00 (three donations)
07/03/2016 Bruce McLain £10,000.00
20/04/2016 Matthew Ferrey £10,000.00
22/03/2016 David Leathers £30,000.00 (three donations)
11/03/2016 Andrew White £10,000.00
16/03/2016 Jon Moulton £10,000.00
06/04/2016 Michael Cowdray £10,000.00
05/04/2016 Mote Hall Limited £10,000.00
03/06/2016 Diana Van Nievelt Price £1,000,000.00
25/04/2016 IM Group £850,000.00
09/05/2016 Gladys Bramall £600,000.00 (two donations)
17/05/2016 The Electoral Commission £600,000.00 (two donations)
19/05/2016 Jonathan Wood £500,000.00 (two donations)
25/05/2016 SevenTowns Ltd £200,000.00
01/06/2016 Jeremy Knight Adams £100,000.00
18/05/2016 Paul Marshall £100,000.00
25/05/2016 Roger Bootle £100,000.00
03/06/2016 JC Bamford Excavators £300,000.00 (three donations)
24/05/2016 Simon Wolfson £50,000.00
25/05/2016 Peter Hall £30,000.00
09/05/2016 Roydon £25,000.00
27/04/2016 B.E. Wedge Holdings £25,000.00
04/05/2016 Interfish £25,000.00
01/06/2016 Annabel Goldsmith £25,000.00
11/05/2016 Shore Capital Group £25,000.00
25/05/2016 Tessa Keswick £20,000.00
10/05/2016 James Christopher Miller £12,500.00
10/05/2016 Monica Miller £12,500.00
12/05/2016 St James Company £12,000.00
11/05/2016 Geoffrey de Jager £10,000.00
24/05/2016 Sir John MacTaggart Baronet £10,000.00
04/05/2016 Robert Kirkland £10,000.00
09/05/2016 Jeremy Woolridge £10,000.00
04/05/2016 David Roper £10,000.00
11/05/2016 IC Technology UK £10,000.00
18/05/2016 AGD Equipment £10,000.00
04/05/2016 David Stevens £10,000.00
03/05/2016 J Reid & Sons £10,000.00
09/05/2016 Sir Patrick Sheehy £10,000.00
31/05/2016 Nicholas Peter Lewis £10,000.00
03/06/2016 Pratap Shirke £19,994.00
17/05/2016 David Peacock £9,000.00
28/04/2016 David Dutton £8,000.00
[11]

Notes

  1. Heather Stewart, 'Vote leave official Brexit campaign eu referendum Boris Johnson', Guardian Online, 13 April 2016, accessed 16 May 2016
  2. 'EU referendum: the result in maps', 24 June 2016, BBC News, accessed 24 June 2016
  3. Register of interests of members' secretaries and research assistants, 23 March 2016, parliament.uk, accessed 20 April 2016
  4. Brian Wheeler, Alex Hunt 'The UK's EU Referendum: All you need to know', 12 May 2016, BBC News, accessed 13 May 2016
  5. Whos Who, Weber Shandwick website, 3 Dec 2015
  6. Samuel Osborne, 'EU referendum national press biased in favour of Brexit says study' 23 May 2016, Independent, accessed 23 May 2016
  7. Jim Waterson, 'Former BNP Member Has Given £600,000 To Vote Leave', 21 June 2016, Buzzfeed.com, accessed 23 June 2016
  8. Josh May, 'Tory Brexit MPs demand David Cameron give a resignation date', 24 May 2016, Politics Home, accessed 24 May 2016
  9. Charlie Cooper, 'EU referendum: Leaked letter 'shows how Cameron plotted against Leave', 17 May 2016, The Independent, accessed 17 May 2016
  10. Daniel Boffey, Toby Helm, 'Vote Leave prejudice Turkey EU Security threat', 21 May 2016, Guardian, accessed 23 May 2016
  11. Electoral Commission, Vote Leave Donation Search, accessed 23 June 2016