Leave.EU to launch legal challenge against Electoral Commission decision to promote rival Out campaign

Vote Leave has been designated the official campaign to leave the EU

Jon Stone
Wednesday 13 April 2016 18:33
The EU referendum is due on 23 June
The EU referendum is due on 23 June

One of the groups campaigning to leave the European Union has said it will launch a legal challenge against a decision to designate its rival as the official Out campaign.

The Electoral Commission today said that Vote Leave would be the lead campaign – giving it access to public funds and an enhanced profile.

But Leave.EU, which has a fractious relationship with Vote Leave, said it would challenge the decision – potentially delaying the referendum.

“We are going to appeal it, which could delay the referendum until October 23," Andy Wigmore told Huffington Post UK. “We think it’s a political stitch-up.”

Arron Banks, the co-founder of Leave.EU, said the decision did not “make sense”.

“I am thoroughly unsatisfied with the Electoral Commission’s decision for a variety of reasons that I will be making clear in my application for judicial review,” he said.

“The tweet by Steve Bell, the Chairman of the Conservative Party Convention, that Vote Leave had been given the designation the night before the official announcement smells of political corruption from our high-minded establishment and cannot be allowed to pass without challenge.

“There are a number of judgments according to the Electoral Commission’s own criteria that do not make sense and we shall be raising those inconsistencies in our action.

Arron Banks, the founder of Leave.EU, has refused a merger with the rival Vote Leave campaign

“It is to be regretted that this process may put the referendum back until October, but if we are to avoid the most important vote of our lives being rigged then I feel duty bound to take this course of action.”

The organisation appeared to waver on the review, however, and said in a follow-up statement that it would announce whether the review would actually go ahead tomorrow.

Leave.EU is part of the Grassroots Out coalition, which narrowly missed out on the official designation, according to a breakdown of the contest by the Electoral Commission.

Grassroots Out itself, however, congratulated Vote Leave and said it would work with it to win the referendum.

The EU referendum will be held on 23 June this year, barring any delays.

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