Supporters of the ‘Vote Leave’ establishment campaign to lead Britain out of the European Union (EU) caused outrage last night after claiming that the Electoral Commission had already made a decision, and that the group would be getting the official referendum designation ahead of the Grassroots Movement (GO).
The news was leaking around Westminster while Vote Leave were enjoying a pricey, high-end gala dinner at One Great George Street just moments away from the Houses of Parliament. Speakers included Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, and establishment leave campaign chief Matthew Elliott.
Most noteworthy was the hastily deleted tweet from Steve Bell, chairman of the Conservative Party national convention, which read: “Great news @vote_leave has official designation for Leave in the EU referendum roll on #independence @DanHannanMEP @LouiseMensch”.
Mr. Bell’s wasn’t the only claim on the issue, with rumours circulating around Vote Leave regional activists. One source at the Bexley Council meeting last night said the same claim was being made by Vote Leave sympathisers all night.
The Grassroots Movement sought clarification on the issue from the Electoral Commission, leading the organisation to hastily tweet late at night: “To confirm, the decision has not yet been made”.
Arron Banks, the co-founder of Leave.EU and financial backer of the Grassroots Movement has asked Mr. Bell to explain his tweet, explaining:
“That such a senior figure in the Conservative Party would issue a self-congratulatory tweet about the formal referendum campaign designation process ahead of any announcement is deeply worrying and gives me cause for concern about the credibility of the whole procedure.
“From the very beginning a number of Vote Leave officials and supporters (Douglas Carswell MP in particular) have been saying the decision had been taken and this premature tweet suggests this might the case.
“Steve Bell has to fully explain himself.
“It’s worth noting Vote Leave has arranged eight events on Friday with cabinet ministers to take advantage of the announcement and is holding a dinner with Boris Johnson tonight.
“I know the Conservative Party is one of entitlement but celebrating two days early takes the biscuit. As an example of my generous magnanimity I’ve just put in a telephone bid at the fund raising dinner for a game of tennis with Boris!”
Neither Mr. Bell nor the Vote Leave activist at Bexley Council responded to Breitbart London for comment.