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    Over 50 Groups Begin Brexit Campaign in Historic Vote on EU

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    More than 50 groups have registered to campaign in the In-Out referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union, in what is the most important - and potentially politically explosive - referendum the UK has held in more than 40 years.

    Under UK law, the Electoral Commission designates which of a number of different groups is given lead status to campaign for Britain to remain in, or leave the EU at the forthcoming referendum. 

    It announced Wednesday (April 13) that 'The In Campaign Ltd' (known as Britain Stronger in Europe) is to be the lead campaigner for the 'Remain' outcome, and 'Vote Leave Ltd' (known as Vote Leave) for the 'Leave' outcome.

    Although the 'Remain' campaign only had one applicant — Britain Stronger in Europe — the 'Leave' campaign was split between three groups: Vote Leave, Grassroots Out and the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition.

    The decision by the Electoral Commission was crucial, since the designated lead campaign groups are able to spend up to a maximum of US$9.9 million, allowed on a free nationwide leaflet-drop and are given the right to broadcast TV promotions. Those who failed to gain lead status are still able to campaign, but are limited in their spending.

    The Campaign Groups

    Britain Stronger in Europe is led by Lord Rose, the former chairman of retailer Marks & Spencer and Will Straw, an associate director of the think-tank Institute for Public Policy Research. Its campaign is backed by former Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, ex-EU Commissioner and Labour political heavyweight Peter Mandelson and Caroline Luca, the leader of the Green Party.

    Vote Leave — the main opponent to Britain Stronger in Europe — is headed-up by Justice Secretary and Conservative big-hitter Michael Gove alongside Labour lawmaker Gisela Stuart, with Matthew Elliott, the founder and former Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance and Big Brother Watch.

    But chief among the Vote Leave Team are the London Mayor Boris Johnson, the leader of the House of Commons, Chris Grayling, ex-Chancellor Lord Lawson and former Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan-Smith.

    Apart from the two main lead campaigners, Nigel Farage will be supporting Vote Leave as the leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) — which has done so much in recent years to stir anti-EU sentiment and winning.

    Grassroots Out is made up of politicians and supporters from across the political spectrum, with a single aim: to get the United Kingdom out of the European Union. It was co-founded by three MPs: Labour's Kate Hoey and Conservatives Peter Bone and Tom Pursglove.

    Other campaign groups include, on the Remain side: the Scottish National Party; Plaid Cymru, The Party of Wales; Liberal Democrats; Universities for Europe; Global Justice Now; London First; the GMB union and the Labour Party.

    Out campaign groups include: Leave.EU, The Bruges Group; the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition; Trade Unionists Against The European Union; the RMT union; Northern Ireland GO; WAGTV Limited; and Vapers for Britain.

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    Tags:
    Brexit, EU membership, referendum, campaign, vote, politics, Britain's EU referendum, European Union, Great Britain, Europe, United Kingdom
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