On 13 April 2016, the Electoral Commission designated the two lead campaigners at the EU Referendum. It designated The In Campaign Ltd to be the lead campaigner for the “Remain” outcome, and Vote Leave Ltd for the “Leave” outcome.
The lead campaigners benefit from specific privileges set out in the Political Parties, Election and Referendum Act 2000 (as amended by the European Union Referendum Act 2016), including a spending limit during the referendum period, which begins on 15 April 2016, of £7,000,000, as opposed to the normal limit of £700,000.
Whilst The In Campaign Ltd was the only applicant for designation to be the lead campaigner for the “Remain” outcome, Vote Leave Ltd was chosen to be the lead campaigner for the “Leave” outcome over two other applicants: the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and The Go Movement Ltd.
When there is more than one applicant, the Commission must, under the statute, designate whichever of the applicants appears to it to represent to the greatest extent those campaigning for that outcome unless it is not satisfied that any of the applicants adequately represents those campaigning for that outcome. The Commission found that the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition did not meet the test of adequately representing those campaigning for the “Leave” outcome. As between The Go Movement Ltd and Vote Leave, the Commission found that Vote Leave Ltd better demonstrated the depth of representation in their support from those campaigning, including at a regional and local level, and had better plans and structures for how it would support other campaigning organisations.
The Electoral Commission was assisted generally by Richard Gordon QC, Gerard Rothschild and Emily MacKenzie.