In the EU referendum campaign, Alan Duncan penned a piece for the Telegraph entitled ‘why this lifelong Eurosceptic is now voting to stay in’. In this, the Conservative MP explained the heartfelt reasons he backed Remain. Alas, these were later placed in doubt when Vote Leave’s Matthew Elliott claimed that Duncan had met with him prior to as for a position on their board and then plumped for the In camp after his request was refused.
Now it turns out that Duncan’s interactions with the Remain camp weren’t all plain-sailing either. In an extract in the Mail on Sunday from Craig Oliver’s new book on the EU referendum Unleashing Demons, David Cameron’s former director of communications reveals the statement Duncan drafted — and suggested No.10 use — to reveal the news that he was an In-er:
‘In a major blow to the campaign to leave the EU, senior Tory MP Sir Alan Duncan has today announced we should remain a member. As one of the few undeclared MPs, he is seen as an experienced and reasonable figure of influence.
Known as a longstanding but thoughtful Eurosceptic, his declaration will be seen to have a pivotal bearing on the many voters who are still undecided.
To have won over such a senior and experienced political figure will be seen as a significant coup both for the Prime Minister and the campaign to remain, all the more so as Alan Duncan is seen as independent-minded and someone who cannot be pushed around.’