The head of the Leave.EU campaign, Arron Banks, has written to all eurosceptic Members of Parliament today urging them to consider their support for the rival Vote Leave group – currently in perpetual turmoil.
But Mr. Banks is not attempting to pinch the support from MPs for his own campaign. He is, instead, asking MPs to support the ‘Grassroots Out’ organisation that his Leave.EU are backing, which saw over 2000 people attend its launch in Kettering two weeks ago.
Mr. Banks’s magnanimity in this regard will service to underscore the point that he has attempted a merger between Vote Leave and Leave.EU for months, only to be constantly rebuffed by the Vote Leave campaign directors and owners Matthew Elliott and Dominic Cummings.
Mr. Banks’s full letter to MPs can be found below:
Dear Member of Parliament,
You may have read about the ongoing struggle between Leave.EU and Vote Leave.
This seems to have culminated in the leaking of an internal Vote Leave email from John Mills, the now former chairman, reported by Sam Coates in The Times today. I attach link to a full copy of this letter for your reference.
I wanted to write to you to clarify the situation and set the record straight on a number of points.
Firstly, our dealings with both Elliot and Cummings chime with the sentiments expressed in the email from John Mills. We have been subject to a number of false and defamatory briefings in the press from these two individuals, the most serious being an accusation that any Conservatives involved in our campaign would have their data stolen for UKIP.
This has led to letters being issued by Mishcon De Reya to members of the Vote Leave board, including one MP.
As a non-political campaign we have offered our support to Grassroots Out, an initiative to co-ordinate activists on the ground during the campaign, set up by two Conservative MPs. They have also been attacked.
John is an honourable man and has been involved in our cause from the very beginning. Elliot and Cummings are two of the nastiest individuals I have ever had the misfortune to meet.
John Mills was demoted as Chairman of Vote Leave shortly after writing his email. It is clear that the Labour Leave people have been treated with absolute contempt. To promote Lord Lawson in John’s place only compounds the humiliation.
Vote Leave now no has no real cross-party support, and I would urge you to consider supporting GO.
Founded by Peter Bone, Tom Pursglove and Kate Hoey, GO represents a genuine grassroots campaign. We were asked to assist along with a number of cross-party donors (including Conservatives) and were happy to do so. Vote Leave were also asked but declined to get involved.
The group recently held a cross-party rally in Kettering attended by 2,500 people.
Contrary to the slurs, Leave.EU are running a positive campaign which is not just focused on immigration but on the wider benefits of leaving the EU. We have recruited 500,000 supporters and attracted thousands of small donations from the public. Our social media operation has overtaken the Labour Party in just five months, we have literally thousands of supporters on the ground and are continuing to grow at an exponential rate day on day.
Finally, as a successful businessman I should say that I don’t think I have ever come across two individuals less equipped to run a campaign or business than Elliot and Cummings. I wouldn’t put them in charge of the local sweet shop.