The Electoral Commission designated Britain Stronger In Europe and Vote Leave as the lead campaigns on the 14th April, marking the start of ten weeks of campaigning before the vote. The lead campaigns can spend up to £7million over this period, receiving one free round of mail to go out to the electorate, a television broadcast and a grant of up to £600,000.
Who Are They?
Britain Stronger in Europe (BSIE) are led by former tory peer and ex-Marks & Spencer chief executive, Sir Stuart Rose, although the PM is seen as the real leader of the “In” side. Their application for designated “In” campaign went uncontested, and they are known to be assisting in co-ordinating the campaigning activities of the Prime Minister.
The group focusses on the uncertainty that an exit will entail, in terms of the economy and jobs. It is also vocal about the benefits of membership in terms of security, global influence and regulation.
The campaign was originally funded by ex-Blair backer Lord Sainsbury, but has since secured funding from Wall Street banks Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.
Supporters include former PMs Tony Blair, John Major, Gordon Brown; former shadow business secretary Chukka Ummuna, Green MP Caroline Lucas, Labour peer Peter Mandelson and former Lib Dem Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander.
Vote Leave won official designation much to the dismay of competing campaign Leave.EU and its leader Arron Banks. Other Leave.EU campaigners such as Nigel Farage intend to work alongside Vote Leave and have wished them well.
Matthew Elliott of the Taxpayer’s Alliance and Michael Gove’s former special advisor Dominic Cummings are in charge, although Boris Johnson and Michael Gove are increasingly the most public figures in the campaign.
A big focus of theirs is the cost of EU membership, loss of sovereignty, declining global clout, burdensome regulation, failure of the EU to reform and the handling of bigger issues facing the EU such as migration.
The campaign has cross-party funding, from Tory donor Peter Cruddas, Labour donor John Mills and UKIP donor Stuart Wheeler. Other supporters include heads of Labour Leave Kate Hoey and Kelvin Hopkins; head of Conservative for Britain – tory MP Steve Baker; Business for Britain, Iain Duncan Smith MP, Daniel Hannan MEP, former chancellor Nigel Lawson and UKIP’s only MP Douglas Carswell.