The Conservative Party’s establishment campaign purporting to lead Britain out the European Union (EU) has taken another hit today as it emerged that one of their most senior advisers and staff members Richard Murphy has left the campaign and joined the UK Independence Party (UKIP)-backed Leave.EU group, run by Arron Banks.
The revelation comes just days after Mr. Banks offered a truce to Vote Leave’s boss Matthew Elliott following a spat of infighting amongst the Eurosceptics.
Followers of Mr. Banks’s group have levelled the charge at the Tory backed campaign that they are not “real” eurosceptics, pointing to the EU expansionist rhetoric of the likes of Daniel Hannan MEP, as well as Mr. Elliott’s claims that the group is keen to see Mr. Cameron’s “renegotiation” ploy succeed.
Insiders have told Breitbart London today that Mr. Murphy’s defection across groups is a reflection of the fact that Vote Leave is out of cash, and wanted to challenge the grassroots dominance of Mr. Banks’s campaign by “astro-turfing” grassroots support, rather than building real local branches.
Vote Leave was thrown into the media spotlight recently after setting up a fake company and having two teenagers heckle the Prime Minister during his big EU renegotiation speech. While supporters called it a coup for anti-EU activists, some in the Westminster commentariat implied the stunt was desperation by Vote Leave to get attention.
The Huffington Post reports that Mr. Murphy was until recently the Ground Campaign Director of Vote Leave, as well as being the group’s Head of Field Operations and Regional Campaigning. He had previously spent 18 years as a campaign strategist for the Conservative Party, “rising to become its Head of Field Campaigning”.
One disagreement, the HuffPo reports, came between the contentious Vote Leave campaign director Dominic Cummings and the group’s digital consultant Andy Whitehurst.
A spokesman for Vote Leave said: “Richard Murphy has left the campaign. We wish him well.”