Matthew Elliott (political strategist)

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Matthew Elliot

Matthew Jim Elliott

(1978-02-12) 12 February 1978 (age 40)
EducationLeeds Grammar School
Alma materLondon School of Economics
OccupationPolitical strategist
Known for
Political partyConservative

Matthew Jim Elliott FRSA (born 12 February 1978[1]) is a British political strategist and lobbyist who has served as the Chief executive of a number of organisations and been involved in various successful referendum campaigns, including Vote Leave.

Elliot was the founder and has served as chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance in 2004, Big Brother Watch and Business for Britain. In 2012, he was also a founding member of Conservative Friends of Russia.[2]

He has also seen success as a political strategist, acting as campaign director for the successful NOtoAV campaign in the 2011 Alternative Vote referendum. In 2015, Elliot became the chief executive of Vote Leave, the official organisation advocating for a 'leave' vote in the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016. He was described as " of the most successful political campaigners in Westminster today." [3]

In July 2018, an investigation by the UK's Electoral Commission found that Elliott's campaign broke UK electoral law.[4]

Personal life and education[edit]

Elliott was born in Leeds and attended Leeds Grammar School. He graduated with a First in BSc Government from the London School of Economics in 2000.[5] In 2008, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.[1] Since 2014, he has been a trustee of the Social Affairs Unit, a right-leaning think-tank.[6]

Elliott has been described by the BBC as "one of the most effective lobbyists at Westminster",[7] and in 2010 was named by Total Politics magazine as one of the top 25 political influencers in the UK.[8] In 2017 he was placed at Number 85 in commentator Iain Dale's list of 'The Top 100 Most Influential People on the Right'.[9]


Elliot served as press officer for the European Foundation from 2000, and political secretary to Timothy Kirkhope MEP from 2001.[1]


In 2004, Elliot co-founded the TaxPayers' Alliance with Andrew Allum. He served as Chief executive of the organisation until 2014.

In 2009, he founded the civil liberties and privacy pressure group Big Brother Watch, in response to "the prevailing climate of authoritarian and intrusive policies being pursued by the British state".



In 2011, he took a sabbatical to act as Campaign Director for the NOtoAV campaign during the UK Alternative Vote referendum. NOtoAV were successful in maintaining the current voting system,[10] receiving 67.9% of the votes cast.[11] He is credited with helping to turn public opinion against the alternative vote, from 2 to 1 in favour to 2 to 1 against. The large victory for the NOtoAV campaign led to Elliot being praised as " of the most successful political campaigners in Westminster today". Tim Montgomerie wrote that "At the moment, he's there at the very top of centre-right campaigners in Britain...He does all the things that a successful campaigner needs to do. He has message discipline, he takes opinion research incredibly seriously, he's intelligent and works hard.'[3]

Vote Leave[edit]

Vote Leave campaign material

In October 2015, Elliot became the Chief executive of Vote Leave, a crossparty organisation formed to campaign to leave the European Union (EU).[12] Vote Leave later became the official campaigning organisation to leave the EU, after having been awarded the status by the Electoral Commission. The organisation managed to recruit the support of a number of high profile politicians, including Conservative MPs Boris Johnson and Michael Gove who became key figureheads.

Despite a widespread belief that the Vote Leave campaign was heading for defeat, 52% of the electorate voted to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum, therefore meaning that Elliot's campaign emerged victorious. Upon victory, Elliot was praised alongside Vote Leave Campaign Director, Dominic Cummings, as being one of the key masterminds of the victorious campaign.[13]

In July 2018, an investigation by the UK's Electoral Commission found that Elliott's campaign broke UK electoral law. Ac

According to a dossier sent by Vote to the Electoral Commission, the commission found the campaign group:

  • Made an inaccurate return of campaign expenditure
  • Is missing invoices and receipts
  • Failed to comply with a statutory notice, and
  • Exceeded its spending limit.

Elliott denied the findings.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Who's Who (164 ed.). A & C Black. 2011. ISBN 978-1-4081-4229-5.
  2. ^ T Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America (Penguin Random House 2018) 105. C Cadwalladr, 'Brexit, the ministers, the professor and the spy: how Russia pulls strings in UK' (4 Nov 2017) Guardian. S Walters, 'Putin's link to Boris and Gove's Brexit 'coup' revealed: Tycoon who netted millions from Russian gas deal funds think tank that helped write the ministers letter demanding May take a tougher stance on leaving the EU' (25 November 2017) Mail on Sunday
  3. ^ a b "Matthew Elliott: Man of the moment". Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  4. ^ Kuenssberg, Laura. "Vote Leave broke electoral law, Electoral Commission expected to say", The BBC, London, 3 July 2018. Retrieved on 4 July 2018.
  5. ^ "Matthew Elliott Bio on Big Brother Watch". Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  6. ^ Who's Who 2014. A & C Black. November 2014.
  7. ^ Yes to AV campaign ‘will be fun’, say organisers, BBC News, 25 August 2011
  8. ^ Top 50 political influencers Archived 27 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine., Total Politics, 19 February 2010
  9. ^ Dale, Iain (2 October 2017). "The Top 100 Most Influential People on the Right: Iain Dale's 2017 List". LBC. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  10. ^ Vote 2011: UK rejects alternative vote, BBC News, 7 May 2011
  11. ^ UK-wide referendum on the Parliamentary voting system, Electoral Commission. Retrieved 29 March 2012
  12. ^ "The battle to be the official EU referendum Leave campaign". BBC News. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  13. ^ Payne, Sebastian (24 June 2016). "How Vote Leave won the EU referendum". Financial Times. ISSN 0307-1766. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  14. ^ Kuenssberg, Laura. "Vote Leave broke electoral law, Electoral Commission expected to say", The BBC, London, 3 July 2018. Retrieved on 4 July 2018.