New anti-Brexit group forms after People’s Vote row

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Crowds march through central London to demand a People’s Vote on the Governments new Brexit deal on October 19, 2019 in London | Peter Summers/Getty Images

Vote for a Final Say launch follows infighting among pro-EU campaigns.

LONDON — Senior figures from a U.K. anti-Brexit campaign that exploded in acrimony have formed a new group to fight for continued EU membership.

The Vote for a Final Say campaign was set up by political communications veterans Tom Baldwin and James McGrory. It includes former elements of the People’s Vote campaign, which split this month, and the youth group For Our Future’s Sake. Both groups previously campaigned under the umbrella group Open Britain, which descended into infighting in October over the leadership of former chair Roland Rudd.

“We really care about this issue [of Brexit],” a Vote for a Final Say spokesman said. “We really care about what happens to young people. We really care about what happens to our country and we have been deeply frustrated that we have been locked out of this campaign for four weeks and we want to do something about it.”

Vote for a Final Say said it has raised thousands of pounds in donations since last week and is launching a drive to help 25 anti-Brexit candidates from the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party win in key marginals at the election on December 12.

The 25 seats, including Canterbury, Gower and Wakefield, were chosen based on a survey of tens of thousands of people. The campaign hopes to help deprive Conservative leader Boris Johnson of an outright parliamentary majority.

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It has fewer resources than the People’s Vote campaign and has been locked out of the valuable Open Britain database of information on voters, but says it is being aided by volunteers.

“The People’s Vote campaign was dependent on its emails and its social media reach and we have obviously been cut off from that data,” the group’s spokesman said. “But we have a lot of skills, a lot of very talented people, and we have got access to very good polling data and some money, so we are putting that together to have an impact in the next few days.”

The group has also changed its language — it is not calling for a “people’s vote” on Brexit but is only using the term “final say.” 

The spokesman added: “We are not looking to be a permanent fixture in Remain-land; we are not looking to recreate an alternative People’s Vote campaign. We are looking to try and influence this general election campaign so that the majority of people who do not want Boris Johnson’s Brexit imposed on them by an all-powerful government, elected with maybe just 40 percent of the vote, can stop him through a final say referendum.”

Richard Brooks, c0-founder and communications chief of For our Future’s Sake, said: “There is a belief that whilst the activities of Roland Rudd and the rest of the Open Britain board drove a wrecking ball through what was the People’s Vote campaign, there is still all to play for and much impact to be had — even with limited resources — in this general election.”

Rudd, a multimillionaire PR executive, quit as chair of the People’s Vote and Open Britain groups earlier this month after staff staged a walkout following the sacking of campaign leader Baldwin and communications chief McGrory.

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