EU referendum: UKIP to launch own campaign

EU referendum: UKIP to launch own campaign

By Robin Brant
Political Correspondent, BBC News

The UK Independence Party says it will launch its own campaign against staying in the EU instead of joining one of the two existing No campaigns.

Leader Nigel Farage believes UKIP can mobilise thousands of supporters of exiting the EU at public meetings.

The decision highlights splits that emerged after the general election when some in his own party said he was too divisive to lead the No campaign.

There will be only one official No campaign for the UK’s referendum.

The Electoral Commission has yet to decide which group to designate as the official No campaign for the referendum, which is set to be held by the end of 2017 on whether the UK should stay in or leave the EU.

Designation brings with it the benefits of higher spending limits, television broadcasts and a grant.

UKIP will unveil its No campaign later this week.

That’s hardly a surprise you might think, after all this is the party that exists to get the UK out of the union. But it muddies the water on the No side with three rival campaigns now established.

There are the Westminster types behind the No campaign, the entrepreneurial business types behind the “Know” camp, and now there is UKIP.

It looks like Mr Farage is determined to make the others – and some in his own party – think twice about rejecting him as the right person to lead the campaign.

At the very least he wants to make sure his party is at the heart of the effort.

He believes UKIP has the structure in place to mobilise thousands of activists that could prove invaluable to any No campaign.

Mr Farage also thinks the other No camps lack his combination of political nous and reach outside of Westminster. Nonetheless he paints a picture of harmony on the No side.

He says he speaks to senior figures in the other camps several times a week. He is also inviting them to UKIP’s conference in Doncaster at the end of September.

He wants to see them up on the stage addressing his faithful.

Cross-party consensus

What of the Yes camp? Easyjet chief executive Carolyn McCall is the person being eyed up to front the campaign.
Behind the scenes, early funding is coming from Lord Sainsbury and there is already a cross-party consensus in place with Peter Mandelson, Danny Alexander and Damian Green the self-appointed political figures.

Strategy is quite advanced. University students arriving for the start of term are likely to face a concerted effort from a Yes campaign that wants to take advantage of political activists already in place on campuses across the country.

There are some fears though of splits that could prove problematic. With David Cameron still yet to finish his tour of European capitals and complete his pre-vote reform negotiations, there is a group of Tory MPs who are in the “Yes but…” camp.

They want to see what he gets. There is a concern that could lead to a rival campaign, or a campaign within a campaign, that would be “Yes lite”.

One comment

  • theunhivedmind

    If it wasn’t for the hard work of Nigel Farage then there wouldn’t be a Referendum.

    .·´ ¸.·★¨) ¸.·☆¨)
    ★(¸.·´ (¸.*´ ¸.·´
    `·-☆ The Unhived Mind

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