The Electoral Commission has announced that Vote Leave has been designated as the official lead campaign urging Britain to leave the European Union in the run-up to the June referendum. The decision will allow the group to spend up to £7m it has raised itself, and it will also be given £600,000 of taxpayers’ money to spend on the administration costs of running a campaign. It will also be able to send one leaflet to every home in Britain – although the government has infuriated Brexit campaigners by sending its own publicly funded leaflet already. Vote Leave, which has the support of cabinet ministers and prominent Conservatives including Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and Chris Grayling, and is chaired by the Labour MP Gisela Stuart, had been widely expected to be anointed as the lead group.
Claire Bassett, chief executive of the Electoral Commission, said: “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.”
The rival group Grassroots Out, which involves the UK Independence party leader, Nigel Farage, had been expected to contest any decision to award the support to Vote Leave.
But its co-founder Peter Bone said: “We congratulate Vote Leave on securing designation and we thank our supporters for all the hard work they have put into the campaign so far.