Electoral Commission designates ‘Vote Leave Ltd’ and ‘The In Campaign Ltd’ as lead campaigners at EU Referendum
Published: 13 Apr 2016
The Electoral Commission has today designated the two lead campaigners at the EU Referendum – designating ‘The In Campaign Ltd’ to be the lead campaigner for the “Remain” outcome, and ‘Vote Leave Ltd’ for the “Leave” outcome.
Papers relating to the Electoral Commission’s decision and copies of the applications made by all applicant organisations, together with supporting information, are available on the Electoral Commission’s website here. The applicants’ campaign strategies and all personal data have been redacted from these papers.
Explaining its decision to designate ‘Vote Leave Ltd’ ahead of the two other competing applications on the ‘Leave’ side, Claire Bassett, Chief Executive of the Electoral Commission said:
“Where there are competing applicants for a particular outcome the law is clear, we must designate the applicant which appears to us to represent those campaigning for that outcome to the greatest extent.
“We received two high quality applications on the ‘Leave’ side, from ‘Vote Leave Ltd’ and ‘The Go Movement Ltd’. After careful consideration, the Commission decided that ‘Vote Leave Ltd’ better demonstrated that it has the structures in place to ensure the views of other campaigners are represented in the delivery of its campaign. It therefore represents, to a greater extent than ‘Go Movement Ltd’, those campaigning for the ‘Leave’ outcome, which is the test we must apply.
“We encourage all campaigners to now focus on engaging voters on the historic decision they will have to take on 23 June.”
Background to the Commission’s decision
The Political Parties, Election and Referendum Act 2000 (PPERA) (as amended by the European Union Referendum Act 2016) requires the Commission to consider a statutory test when assessing applications for designation. The test is:
- if there is only one applicant for an outcome, the Commission shall designate that applicant unless it is not satisfied that it adequately represents those campaigning for that outcome, or
- if there is more than one applicant for an outcome, the Commission shall designate whichever of the applicants appears to it to represent to the greatest extent those campaigning for that outcome unless it is not satisfied that any of the applicants adequately represents those campaigning for that outcome.
There was only one applicant for designation to be lead campaigner for the ‘Remain’ outcome, ‘The In Campaign Ltd’ and the Commission decided that it adequately represented those campaigning for this outcome.
There were three applicants for designation for the ‘Leave’ outcome. The application from the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition did not demonstrate that it adequately represented other campaigners.
The two remaining applications, from ‘Vote Leave Ltd’ and ‘The Go Movement Ltd’ were considered to adequately represent other campaigners. The Commission was therefore required to determine which of the two applicants would, represent the other campaigners on the ‘Leave’ side to the greatest extent
While both applications were of a high standard, the Commission considered in particular that:
- Both campaigns demonstrate support from a wide range of groups representing different interests. However, ‘Vote Leave Ltd’ better demonstrated the depth of representation in their support from those campaigning, including at a regional and local level.
- ‘Vote Leave Ltd’ also provided well-developed plans and structures for how they would support other campaigning organisations. Their offer of support is not conditional on organisations agreeing to deliver messages or activity on their behalf and there is an established forum (the ‘Contact Group’) with the specific intended purpose of allowing an exchange of views between campaigners. By contrast, the approach from ‘Go Movement Ltd’ is based on other campaigners signing formalised agreements as ‘affiliates’ but there is no established mechanism for supporting campaigners who do not wish to sign these.
In order to become a designated lead campaigner, registered campaigners had to submit an application to the Electoral Commission to help it apply the statutory test explaining:
- the applicant ’s objectives and how it fits with the referendum outcome it supports
- the level and type of support for the application
- how the applicant plans to represent other campaigners campaigning for the same outcome including how it would engage with them
- the applicant’s organisational capacity to represent those campaigning for that outcome, and
- the applicant’s capacity to deliver their campaign
What designation means
The two lead campaigners will now have access to specific benefits set out in law during the regulated ‘referendum period’ which begins on 15 April. The benefits of being a lead campaigner are:
- A higher spending limit of £7 million
- One free distribution of information to voters
- The use of certain public rooms
- Referendum campaign broadcasts
- A grant of up to £600,000 to be used for certain spending including the administration costs associated with setting up and running a referendum campaign and the costs associated with the TV broadcasts and free mailing to voters that they are entitled to as lead campaigners
In addition to these statutory benefits, lead campaign groups can have:
- A dedicated page in the Commission’s public information booklet which will be distributed to all households in the UK (in both English language and bilingual English/Welsh language versions)
- The inclusion in the booklet of a link to a page on the campaigner’s website, which should include their opinion on what will happen in the event of either referendum result
For further information contact:
Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704
Out of office hours 07789 920 414
Notes to editors
1. The Electoral Commission is an independent body set up by the UK Parliament. Our aim is integrity and public confidence in the UK’s democratic process. We regulate party and election finance and set standards for well-run elections.
2. The Electoral Commission has specific responsibilities and functions in relation to the delivery and regulation of referendums held under PPERA, which applies to any referendum Bill brought before the UK Parliament unless specifically stated otherwise. For more information see our website.
3. Britain Stronger in Europe is registered as ‘The In Campaign Ltd’ and is referred to as such throughout the assessment matrices and Board documents published by the Commission.
4. There was one applicant for the “Remain” outcome and three for the “Leave” outcome.
5. The referendum campaign spending limits and rules apply from 15 April 2016 until and including 23 June 2016, the day of the referendum.
6. Redactions have been made in some documents published today to remove either legal advice or personal data. The Commission also requested information relating to each applicants overall campaign strategy as part of the designation application process and this has also been redacted in line with the commitments that the Commission made when requesting this information.
7. The following papers relating to the Electoral Commission’s decision and copies of the applications made by all applicant organisations, are available on the Electoral Commission’s website here:
- Commission Board paper, including assessment matrices
- Commission Board minute
- Summary scoring matrix
The In Campaign Ltd
- The In Campaign Ltd designation application
Go Movement Ltd
- Go Movement Ltd designation application cover letter
- Go Movement Ltd designation application
- Go Movement Ltd application Appendix 01 Legal Documents Data
- Appendices 02 to 06, which include press clippings, will be available for review by the Board in the Commission’s London office in the days prior to the Board meeting
- Go Movement Ltd designation application - Emails in support (13 boxes of these two template emails of support were submitted with the application)
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
- Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition designation application
Vote Leave Ltd
- Vote Leave Ltd designation application cover letter
- Vote Leave Ltd designation application
- Vote Leave Ltd designation application - Appendix A1
- Vote Leave Ltd designation application - Appendix A2
- Vote Leave Ltd designation application - Appendix A3
- Vote Leave Ltd designation application - Appendix A4
- Vote Leave Ltd designation application - Appendix B1
- Vote Leave Ltd designation application - Appendix B2
- Vote Leave Ltd designation application - Appendix B3
- Vote Leave Ltd designation application - Appendix B4
- Vote Leave Ltd designation application - Appendix B5
- Vote Leave Ltd designation application - Appendix B6
- Vote Leave Ltd designation application - Appendix C1
- Vote Leave Ltd designation application - Appendix D
Further evidence submitted by applicants:
GO Movement Ltd
- Request for further evidence – GO Movement Ltd
- GO Movement Ltd – Further evidence: Cover Letter
- GO Movement Ltd – Further evidence: Terms of Reference for GO Movement Ltd Board
- GO Movement Ltd – Further evidence: Terms of Reference Political and Strategy Committee
- GO Movement Ltd – Further evidence: Collaboration Agreement 250216
- GO Movement Ltd – Further evidence: Declaration
- GO Movement Ltd – Further evidence: Outsourcing Agreement 160316
Vote Leave Ltd
- Request for further evidence – Vote Leave Ltd
- Vote Leave Ltd – Further evidence