Alastair Campbell questions apparent removal of James McGrory and Tom Baldwin by Roland Rudd, outgoing chair of linked group Open Britain
The power struggle within the People’s Vote campaign for a second EU referendum has intensified with two of the group’s most senior figures forced out.
On Sunday night James McGrory, the director, and Tom Baldwin, the head of communications, were asked to leave with immediate effect. Patrick Heneghan, the former head of campaigns for the Labor party, was appointed temporarily as People’s Vote’s acting chief executive.
The changes were made by Roland Rudd, the outgoing chairman of Open Britain, according to a report in the Financial Times. Open Britain is one the five organizations that make up People’s Vote.
It follows reports of a power struggle within the campaign for a second referendum, with PR executive Rudd forming a new company to oversee a remain campaign in the case of a second referendum. )
Influential figures in the second referendum movement questioned the legitimacy of the sackings. Alastair Campbell, the former Labor spokesman and People’s Vote campaigner, tweeted: “Before people get too excited, a few facts… Roland Rudd is chair of Open Britain. He styles himself as chair of PV but this has never been agreed by all. ”
Campbell claimed Rudd did “not have the right” to sack McGrory and Baldwin and appoint Heneghan as interim chief executive.
Stephen Dorrell, the chairman of European Movement UK, echoed Campbell in voicing concern about the legitimacy of the firings. He said: “Roland Rudd is chair of Open Britain; the People’s Vote campaign includes European Movement and other partners who were not consulted about untimely management changes in Open Britain. ”
The changes follow major disagreements within the People’s Vote campaign that have been developing for months about the future of the movement’s direction and strategy.
Tension has stemmed from Rudd’s desire to move the campaign towards a more pro-remain position, with the campaign directors focusing on winning over soft leave voters and undecided Labor and Conservative members of parliament.
Stephen Dorrell ***(@ stephen_dorrell)
Roland Rudd is Chair of Open Britain; the People’s Vote Campaign includes European Movement and other partners who were not consulted about untimely management changes in Open Britain which were announced tonight.https://t.co/AQYp1y9vvc
(October) , 2019