3 top political donors to fund EU ‘Brexit’ campaign
Among the big spenders are Paul Cruddas, John Mills and Stuart Wheeler, who have collectively donated around £3 million to political parties.
The full list of donors will be announced Friday. Sources close to the campaign have said they expect donors to raise some £13 million towards the out campaign. The funds will be used in addition to the £7 million which the Electoral Commission says the group can spend during the official campaign.
Paul Cruddas has donated more than £1.2 million to the Conservative Party. John Mills has established himself as the largest individual donor of the Labour Party. Stuart Wheeler meanwhile has given UKIP more than £100,000.
Other donors include Phones 4u founder John Caudwell and Alexander Hoare, whose family is worth more than £300 million.
The Electoral Commission says the campaign groups will not have to declare any funds amassed before the official beginning of the campaign, which means the ‘leave’ group can build up large amounts of funding.
The latest poll of British opinion on EU membership found 54 percent are either in favor of leaving or dislike the EU but would vote to remain a member for fear of economic repercussions.
The revelation of the big hitters behind the “leave” campaign will worry the “remain” camp who face a mounting challenge to stay in the union.
The “leave” campaign is expected to argue that the UK wastes £350 million each week on the EU and highlight the potential for the cash if it was used elsewhere.
The cross-party group with support from all major parties, except the Liberal Democrats, will not use immigration as a key message.
“All the polling we’ve done shows that people who are worried about immigration are going to vote ‘out’ anyway,” said a campaign source.
“Going on about it is just going to put off undecided voters who we need to woo and reassure.”
Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to call the referendum as early as March 2016. He has pledged to hold one before the end of 2017.