Pro-EU campaign to splash out £1m to support anti-Brexit candidates in UK elections

Ben Gartside
Pro-EU supporters take to the stage at a joint political rally by Best for Britain and the People's Vote campaign in London, Britain, December 9, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

People’s Vote, the pro-EU campaign, is backing anti-Brexit candidates for UK’s general elections with a £1m fund.

The campaign, which has recently’ struggled with infighting, claims to have raised 200,000 in the past two days.

Despite the large fund to support remain candidates, first reported in the Guardian, the campaign seems to be supporting some current MPs too.

On their tactical voting map, multiple seats currently held by pro-People’s Vote MPs are highlighted. Notable target seats include that of Scotland secretary Alister Jack, and former welfare secretary Amber Rudd, who is standing down at the next election.

Another recipient of the fund is former attorney general Dominic Grieve, who is standing as an independent in Beaconsfield. Full details of targeted seats are set to be published later in the week even as internal criticism grows for the tactic.

Some involved in the campaign are frustrated with the lack of targeted seats where Labour are being supported by the campaign.

Speaking to the Guardian, People’s Vote CEO Patrick Heneghan said the campaign would “strain every sinew to stop Boris Johnson getting a majority”.

“We will be encouraging voters to get out in record numbers and back the candidate in each constituency with the best chance of defeating the Conservatives provided, at minimum, they support a People’s Vote.”

READ MORE: People's Vote campaign in crisis as Rudd pushes for control

Earlier on Sunday shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry dismissed “Liberal Democrat boasts” of why they should be favoured tactically. She told the Observer: “This election, there will be a big tactical vote for Labour by those who want to stop Boris Johnson forcing his hard Brexit and a new era of austerity on our country. Liberal Democrat boasts that they can win hundreds of seats are not supported by the independent analysis done by the People’s Vote campaign.”

Other pro-EU campaign group Best for Britain faced criticism of its tactical voting suggestions. In many Labour-Conservative marginals the group is suggesting a tactical vote for the Liberal Democrats, despite conventional wisdom that supporting a Labour vote in the area would be better for the pro-EU campaign.

Roland Rudd, the new director of the People’s Vote campaign, has also faced internal criticism for being too harsh towards the leadership of the Labour party. Rudd’s appointment led to the promotion of Patrick Heneghan as the chief executive of People’s Vote. Heneghan ran Labour’s 2017 general election campaign.

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