The Electoral Commission has struck off 11 pro-Brexit campaign groups from their official registered of EU Referendum campaigners after a Telegraph analysis raised concerns about how the Grassroots Out Movement intended to spend millions in campaign donations. In a statement, the Commission said that the 11 Grassroots Out or “GO” groups had been removed from the official register of campaign groups after “they were found not to meet the registration requirements” following a review. The move came a week after The Telegraph had reported misgivings among ‘Remain’ campaigners that the multiple ‘GO’ groups might be used to circumvent spending caps imposed on non-official campaigners.
Under the rules, the official campaigns can spend £7m each, but the smaller groups are capped at £700,000 each. Additional rules on “working together” prevent groups with large amounts of money splintering into smaller groups to evade the spending caps.
The Go Movement umbrella group, which includes the Leave.EU group and the Grassroots Out, a campaign group set up by two Northamptonshire MPs, Peter Bone and Thomas Pursglove, has always denied any intention to by-pass the rules.
However, the Telegraph analysis revealed that all of the Groups – Steel GO, Scotland GO, Northern Ireland GO, Left GO, Labour GO, Gibraltar GO, Conservatives GO, Health Professionals GO, Student GO. LGBT GO and Business GO – shared the same address, Lysander House in Bristol. Lysander House is the registered business address Arron Banks, the businessman and major UKIP donor who co-founded the Leave.EU group.