The Vote Leave campaign chiefs Dominic Cummings and Matthew Elliott cannot work with others and have deliberately spread “lies” about rival campaigns, according to senior Labour MP Kate Hoey.
In revealing the details behind her decision to quit Vote Leave last week, Miss Hoey chose an interview with The Sunday Telegraph to say: “I want to get out (of the EU) more than anything else. I am not prepared to go along with being part of an organisation that I genuinely don’t think can actually win the campaign.”
Labour’s most prominent Eurosceptic was speaking publicly for the first time since she resigned Friday and disclosed that her decision came after Mr Cummings and Mr Elliott thwarted another proposal to unite with the Leave.EU group.
Vote Leave is engaged in conflict with Leave.EU and Grassroots Out over official designation by the Electoral Commission as lead campaigners in the referendum, which delivers £7 million of public funds.
At a “crunch” meeting last week, a proposal was made for an “overview body” to coordinate the activities of the two groups for a more aligned campaign, she said. It was discussed at the Vote Leave board meeting but “Dominic was obviously so much against that – and Matthew Elliott – that they just stopped everything happening.”
“The board is packed with Dominic and Matthew people and they didn’t go on with it.”
Ms Hoey, the MP for Vauxhall, describes Mr Cummings as “strange” and accuses him and Mr Elliott of destroying attempts to unify the two rival camps.
“They both have their attributes and some things they both do very well but what they have not got the capacity to do is work with ‘ordinary people’ and all the other little campaigns that have been there for years, working really hard. They haven’t got the capacity to bring people together – and that’s what we need now.”
Ms Hoey believes that Mr Cummings and Mr Elliott are putting their desire to win recognition from the Electoral Commission as the official “Leave” campaign in the EU referendum above all else and denying the need for a common voice among eurosceptics.
“Vote Leave are just so determined to get this designation that everything is about that,” Ms Hoey said.
She claimed that the pair were spreading “lies” about Leave.EU. Asked by the Telegraph why she has decided to resign from Vote Leave, Ms Hoey said: “It’s about style of campaigning and it’s about the lies some of them have been saying.
“They are always trying to do down Leave.EU by saying it’s a Ukip front. We have been working now for a while with all these people and it’s not true. This week, there have been a few emails exchanged, just showing Dominic particularly at his most strange.
“We have been pushing to get back some kind of unity. But every time there have been discussions going on and things have been doing quite well, there is some vitriol and it all stops again,” she said.
A Vote Leave spokesman told the newspaper the group does not recognise claims that Mr Cummings has caused divisions and friction.