Campaigning in the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016
|Part of a series of articles on the|
Campaigning in the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum began unofficially on Saturday 20 February 2016 when Prime Minister David Cameron formally announced under the terms of the European Union Referendum Act 2015 that a referendum would be held on the issue of the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union. The official campaign period for the 2016 referendum ran from Friday 15 April 2016 until the day of the poll on Thursday 23 June 2016.
Michael Dougan, Professor of European Law and Jean Monnet Chair in EU Law at the University of Liverpool, described the Leave campaign as "one of the most dishonest political campaigns this country [the UK] has ever seen".
- 1 Position of political parties
- 2 Designation of official campaign groups
- 3 Remain groups
- 4 Leave groups
- 5 Campaign anthems
- 6 Individual endorsements
- 7 Campaigning in Gibraltar
- 8 Official investigations into campaigns
- 9 References
Position of political parties
(England and Wales, and Scotland)
|Remain||Green Party of England and Wales|||
|Plaid Cymru – The Party of Wales|||
|Scottish Green Party|||
|Scottish National Party (SNP)|||
|UK Independence Party (UKIP)|||
|Remain||Alliance Party of Northern Ireland|||
|Green Party in Northern Ireland|||
|Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP)|||
|Ulster Unionist Party (UUP)|||
|Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)|||
|People Before Profit Alliance (PBP)|||
|Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV)|||
|Remain||Gibraltar Social Democrats|||
|Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party|||
|Liberal Party of Gibraltar|||
Designation of official campaign groups
At the close of applications on 31 March only Britain Stronger in Europe had applied to the Electoral Commission for the official "remain" designation. Three competing applications were submitted for the official "leave" designation. The Electoral Commission announced the designated campaign groups for the leave and remain sides on 13 April 2016, two days before the official ten-week campaign period began.
- Designated official leading Remain campaigning group: Britain Stronger in Europe
- Designated official leading Leave campaigning group: Vote Leave
The Remain Campaign was led by Britain Stronger in Europe, a cross-party lobbying group that was declared as the official "Remain" campaign for the referendum by the Electoral Commission. However there were a number of other groups that were involved in leading more specialist campaigns.
Examples of leaflets used by the remain groups can be found on the LSE Library's collection of referendum leaflets.
Vote Leave was the lead organisation campaigning for a leave vote in the referendum. On 13 April 2016, Vote Leave was designated by the Electoral Commission as the official campaign in favour of leaving the European Union for the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum. Vote Leave was created in October 2015 and was a cross-party campaign, including members of Parliament from Conservatives, Labour, and UKIP.
Paul Marshall, a hedge fund manager gave £100,000 to Vote Leave.
Leave.EU campaigned for a Leave vote, and tried to become the lead campaigner. Founded in July 2015 as The Know, the campaign was relaunched in September 2015 with its present name to reflect altered wording in the referendum question. The campaign, along with rival organisation Vote Leave, aimed to be formally designated as the lead campaign for the Leave vote by the Electoral Commission. On 13 April 2016, Vote Leave was designated by the Electoral Commission as the official campaign.
Grassroots Out was formed in January 2016 as a result of infighting between Vote Leave and Leave.EU and officially launched on 23 January 2016 in Kettering. Despite its name, it was started by politicians from a mixture of political parties including Peter Bone, Tom Pursglove, Liam Fox of the Conservatives, Kate Hoey of Labour, Nigel Farage of UKIP and Sammy Wilson of the DUP.
Labour Leave campaigned within the Labour Party (UK) against the United Kingdom's continued membership of the European Union and led by Labour MP's Kate Hoey, Graham Stringer, Kelvin Hopkins, and Roger Godsiff.
Left Leave was a left-wing group campaigning for the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union. It was made up of a coalition of left-wing political parties and organisations, such as the Communist Party of Great Britain, the Respect Party and the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers. The Left Leave campaign was chaired by Robert Griffiths, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Great Britain.
Trade Union and Socialist Coalition
The Trade Union and Socialist Coalition also applied to be the official "leave" campaign. It purports to represent anti-austerity campaigners who wish to leave the EU rather than other leave groups who represent "pro-business" views.
Within the Green Party (which supports Remain): An organisation of Green Party members who are campaigning to leave the EU. Baroness Jenny Jones the Leader of the Green Party in the House of Lords, was a supporter.
Within the Liberal Democrats (which supports Remain): A campaign group of Liberal Democrat activists who want to leave the EU, includes councillors and former MP for Hereford, Paul Keetch. Also supported by the Liberal Party.
Both the Remain and Leave campaigns have released songs to promote their messages. Gruff Rhys for the Remain team entitles his song I love EU. For the Leave campaign, UKIP Parliamentary Candidate Mandy Boylett  created a parody of the Three Lions anthem. David Baddiel, who penned the original Three Lions, described this version as "brilliantly naff". Guido Fawkes used Mandy Boylett's song as the backing track to his end of referendum summary, Guido's referendum best bits.
On 13 June 2016 Mandy Boylett launched a follow up Brexit song, penning new words to Pink's Get this party started. The new song was immediately reported across the British Press including the Daily Express, City AM
A number of politicians, public figures, newspapers and magazines, businesses and other organisations endorsed an official position during the Referendum campaign. These are listed in the article above.
Campaigning in Gibraltar
Unlike all other British overseas territories, Gibraltar is part of the UK's EU membership and consequently the territory will participate in the referendum. As of March 2016, all major parties within the Gibraltarian parliament support a "remain" vote.
Official investigations into campaigns
On 9 May 2016, Leave.EU was fined £50,000 by the UK Information Commissioner's Office 'for failing to follow the rules about sending marketing messages': they sent people text messages without having first gained their permission to do so.
On 4 March 2017, the Information Commissioner's Office also reported that it was 'conducting a wide assessment of the data-protection risks arising from the use of data analytics, including for political purposes' in relation to the Brexit campaign. It was specified that among the organisations to be investigated was Cambridge Analytica and its relationship with the Leave.EU campaign. The findings are expected to be published sometime in 2017.
On 21 April 2017, the Electoral Commission announced that it was investigating 'whether one or more donations – including of services – accepted by Leave.EU was impermissible; and whether Leave.EU’s spending return was complete', because 'there were reasonable grounds to suspect that potential offences under the law may have occurred'.
- "Professor Michael Dougan assesses UK's position following vote to leave the EU". 30 Jun 2016. Retrieved 30 Jun 2016.
- "Policy: Europe". greenparty.org.uk. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
- Wintour, Patrick (2 June 2015). "Andy Burnham pushes Labour to set up separate pro-European Union campaign". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- Patrick Wintour. "Alan Johnson to head Labour Yes campaign for EU referendum". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
- "Nick Clegg: Pro-Europeans are the real reformers now". libdems.org.uk. 9 May 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- Staff. "Positions". partyof.wales. Plaid Cymru. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
- Greer, Ross (10 October 2015). "EU Referendum: Greens to Make Progressive Case for Membership". Scottish Green Party. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
- Staff (2 June 2015). "Nicola Sturgeon warns of EU exit 'backlash'". BBC News. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- "Alex Salmond: I'll campaign with Tories to stay in EU". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
- "Home page". ukip.org. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
- Hope, Christopher (21 September 2015). "Conservative Party to stay neutral during EU referendum". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
- "Dickson – An EU referendum will threaten jobs and investment in Northern Ireland". Alliance Party of Northern Ireland. 14 May 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
- "Alliance expresses concerns over referendum idea". allianceparty.org. 29 April 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
- Staff (February 2014). Green Party in Northern Ireland: Manifesto 2015 (PDF). greenpartyni.org. Green Party in Northern Ireland. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-11-18. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
- "Sinn Fein to protect EU membership". The Belfast Telegraph. 20 April 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
- SDLP. "International Affairs". Social Democratic and Labour Party. Archived from the original on 3 December 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
- UUP. "Statement from the Ulster Unionist Party on EU Referendum". Ulster Unionist Party. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
- Cromie, Claire (25 November 2015). "EU referendum: DUP gives backing to UKIP Brexit campaign, blasting David Cameron's 'pathetic demands'". The Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
- "DUP to 'recommend vote to leave the EU'". The News Letter. Belfast. 20 February 2016.
- PBP. "Lexit: why we need a left exit from the eu". Retrieved 27 May 2016.
- "EU Membership is a Matter for UK Citizens, Not US President". tuv.org.uk. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
- "Feetham urges joint strategies with Govt on key issues". Gibraltar Chronicle. 19 January 2016. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
- "Garcia flags constitutional reform and Brexit in New Year message". Gibraltar Chronicle. 5 January 2016. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
- Gavin Stamp (1 April 2016). "EU referendum: Leave campaigns face left-wing rival". BBC News. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
- Lead EU referendum campaigns named – BBC, 13 April 2016
- "The people hoping to persuade UK to vote to stay in the EU". BBC. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
- "EU referendum: Leave campaigns face left-wing rival". BBC. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
- Gruff Rhys. "Gruff Rhys: hear his song I Love EU – and find out why he wrote it". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
- "Video shows Ukip's Mandy Boylett spoof Three Lions to sing Britain's Coming Home". Daily Mail. 24 February 2016.
- Michael Wilkinson (23 February 2016). "Ukip's anti-EU Three Lions parody song 'Britain's Coming Home' wins backing of David Baddiel for being 'brilliantly naff'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
- "Guido's Referendum Best Bits". Euro Guido. Guido Fawkes. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
- "A parody of Pink's "Get The Party Started" to support the campaign to Leave the EU". YouTube (Mandy Boylett). Retrieved 13 June 2016.
- "'Mr Juncker, you'll be kissin' my ass!' Ukip activist returns with ANOTHER Brexit song". Daily Express. 13 June 2016. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
- "Brexiting Britpopper Mandy Boylett releases second single supporting Vote Leave" (Political Diary). City AM. Edith Hancock. 13 June 2016. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
- 'DATA PROTECTION ACT 1998 SUPERVISORY POWERS OF THE INFORMATION COMMISSIONER MONETARY PENALTY NOTICE (9 May 2016).
- 'EU campaign firm fined for sending spam texts' (11 May 2016).
- Jamie Doward, Carole Cadwalladr and Alice Gibbs, 'Watchdog to launch inquiry into misuse of data in politics', The Observer (4 March 2017).
- Carole Cadwalladr, 'The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked', The Observer (Sunday 7 May 2017).
- Electoral Commission statement on investigation into Leave.EU (21 April 2017).