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Matthew Elliott, Baron Elliott of Mickle Fell

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The Lord Elliott of Mickle Fell
Official portrait, 2024
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
6 February 2024
Life peerage
Personal details
Matthew Jim Elliott

(1978-02-12) 12 February 1978 (age 46)
Leeds, England
Political partyConservative
Florence Heath
(m. 2005; div. 2012)
Sarah Smith
(m. 2014)
Alma materLondon School of Economics
OccupationPolitical strategist
Known for

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

Elliott was the founder and has served as chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance in 2004, Big Brother Watch and Business for Britain.

He has also worked as a political strategist, acting as campaign director for the successful NOtoAV campaign in the 2011 Alternative Vote referendum. In 2015, Elliott became the chief executive of Vote Leave, the official organisation advocating for a 'leave' vote in the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum. He was described as "...one of the most successful political campaigners in Westminster today."[2] In 2018, The Guardian described him as a central figure in "a network of opaquely funded organisations", mostly based at 55 Tufton Street, that "centre around... the TaxPayers' Alliance – a pressure group that he founded – and Brexit Central, an anti-EU website of which [he was then] editor-in-chief".[3]

Personal life and education[edit]

Elliott was born in Leeds on 12 February 1978.[4] He attended Leeds Grammar School and graduated with a first-class BSc degree in government from the London School of Economics in 2000. He was the president of the LSESU Hayek Society.[5]

Elliott has been described by the BBC as "one of the most effective lobbyists at Westminster",[6] and in 2010 was named by Total Politics as one of the top 25 political influencers in the UK.[7] In 2017 he was placed at number 85 in commentator Iain Dale's list of the "Top 100 Most Influential People on the Right".[8]

Since 2014, Elliott has been married to Sarah Elliott (née Smith), who became the chairwoman of Republicans Overseas UK in 2017.[9] The couple have two daughters[4] and live in South London as of 2019.[9] Elliott was previously married to Florence Heath from 2005 to 2012.[4]


Elliott served as press officer for the European Foundation from 2000, and political secretary to Timothy Kirkhope MEP from 2001.[4]


In 2004, Elliott co-founded the TaxPayers' Alliance with Andrew Allum. He served as Chief executive of the organisation until 2014.[citation needed]

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".[citation needed]

In 2012, he was also a founding member of Conservative Friends of Russia.[10] In an article for the New Statesman, Elliot said he attended a Conservative Friends of Russia reception in 2012 and a 10-day trip to the country, but claimed he had no further involvement."[1]



In 2011, he took a sabbatical to act as Campaign Director for the NOtoAV campaign during the 2011 United Kingdom Alternative Vote referendum. NOtoAV were successful in maintaining the current voting system,[11] receiving 67.9% of the votes cast.[12] 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 Elliott being praised as "...one 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.'[2]

Vote Leave[edit]

Vote Leave campaign material

In October 2015, Elliott became the chief executive of Vote Leave, a cross-party organisation formed to campaign for Brexit, the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.[13] Vote Leave later became the official campaigning organisation for Brexit, 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, nearly 52 per cent of those who voted, or 37 per cent of the electorate, voted to leave the EU in the 2016 Brexit referendum. Elliott was praised alongside Dominic Cummings, Vote Leave's campaign director, as being one of the key masterminds of the victorious campaign.[14]

In July 2018, an investigation by the Electoral Commission accused Elliott's campaign of breaking UK electoral law, which Elliott denied.[15] The High Court agreed in September 2018 that Elliott's campaign had broken the law, but ruled that the Electoral Commission had misinterpreted the electoral law in relation to Vote Leave in advice it gave.[16]

House of Lords[edit]

Elliott was nominated by Liz Truss for a life peerage in her list of resignation honours.[17] His nomination resulted in complaints to the House of Lords Appointments Commission over the funding of one of his pro-Brexit campaigns.[18] He was created Baron Elliott of Mickle Fell, of Barwick-in-Elmet in the City of Leeds, on 6 February 2024.[19]

In popular culture[edit]

Elliott was portrayed by actor John Heffernan in the HBO- and Channel 4-produced drama, Brexit: The Uncivil War (2019).[20][21]


  1. ^ a b Eaton, George (5 September 2018). "Vote Leave head Matthew Elliott: "The Brexiteers won the battle but we could lose the war"". New Statesman.
  2. ^ a b "Matthew Elliott: Man of the moment". prweek.com. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  3. ^ Cadwalladr, Carole (21 July 2018). "Shahmir Sanni: 'Nobody was called to account. But I lost almost everything'". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d "Elliott, Matthew Jim". Who's Who. A & C Black. 2023. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U254308. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. ^ "Matthew Elliott Bio on Big Brother Watch". bigbrotherwatch.org.uk. Archived from the original on 16 September 2016. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  6. ^ Yes to AV campaign ‘will be fun’, say organisers, BBC News, 25 August 2011
  7. ^ Top 50 political influencers Archived 27 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Total Politics, 19 February 2010
  8. ^ Dale, Iain (2 October 2017). "The Top 100 Most Influential People on the Right: Iain Dale's 2017 List". LBC. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  9. ^ a b Dickson, Annabelle (31 May 2019). "Politico London Playbook, presented by Microsoft: Poll shock – First couple of populism – Politicos head to Madrid". Politico. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  10. ^ 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 November 2017) Guardian.
  11. ^ Vote 2011: UK rejects alternative vote, BBC News, 7 May 2011
  12. ^ UK-wide referendum on the Parliamentary voting system, Electoral Commission. Retrieved 29 March 2012
  13. ^ "The battle to be the official EU referendum Leave campaign". BBC News. 9 October 2015. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  14. ^ Payne, Sebastian (24 June 2016). "How Vote Leave won the EU referendum". Financial Times. London. ISSN 0307-1766. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  15. ^ Kuenssberg, Laura. "Vote Leave broke electoral law, Electoral Commission expected to say", BBC News, London, 3 July 2018. Retrieved on 4 July 2018.
  16. ^ Electoral Commission 'misinterpreted' Vote Leave expenses, court rules. Retrieved 10 September 2019
  17. ^ "Resignation Peerages December 2023" (PDF). Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 30 December 2023.
  18. ^ "Vetting body urged to reject peerage for Vote Leave chief". The Guardian. London. 17 April 2023. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 8 May 2023.
  19. ^ "No. 64313". The London Gazette. 12 February 2024. p. 2726.
  20. ^ Bennett, Asa (28 December 2018). "Brexit: The Uncivil War review: Benedict Cumberbatch is superb in this thrilling romp through the referendum". The Daily Telegraph. London. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  21. ^ Elliott, Matthew (4 January 2019). "Vote Leave's Matthew Elliott on Channel 4's Brexit: The Uncivil War". Financial Times. London. Screenwriter James Graham has turned the campaign into a compelling story – and nailed my mannerisms
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by Gentlemen
Baron Elliott of Mickle Fell
Followed by