Sebastian Payne

Exclusive: Vote Leave campaign rejects merger with Arron Banks’s Leave.EU

Exclusive: Vote Leave campaign rejects merger with Arron Banks's Leave.EU
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Is the infighting between the two campaigns for Britain to leave the EU drawing to a close? Coffee House understands that Arron Banks, the Ukip donor and founder of the Leave.EU campaign, has been in talks with Vote Leave, the other Brexit group run by Dominic Cummings and Matthew Elliott, about how the campaigns can work together better in the name of leaving the EU.

Sources close to Arron Banks have told Coffee House that he is open to the idea of merging with ‘Vote Leave’ and taking a lower profile role in the EU referendum — acknowledging that the infighting is harming the Eurosceptic cause. The Leave.EU campaign say they recognise that Dominic Cummings is a ‘genius’ and they would love to be working with him. The sticking point appears to be a personality clash between Banks and Matthew Elliott. Until the pair can work out their differences, Leave.EU can’t envisage any kind of ‘coming together’.

However, the Vote Leave campaign deny they are about to merge with Leave.EU. I'm told that those figures who will make up the board of Vote Leave — a mix of senior businesspeople and key MPs — have vetoed any talk of a merger. One senior Conservative close to the Vote Leave campaign says:

'The donors have said there is no chance of a merger. They regard him [Banks] as a total liability and nobody serious wants to have anything to do with him. His campaign is owned in an offshore company. His director of communications is also the Belize trade representative in London. They antagonise everybody they deal with. Serious people won't touch him with a bargepole'.

A senior source at the Vote Leave office said, 'we are not merging with Arron Banks but we won't comment further'. So, business as usual. Judging by the different views of these merging talks, it appears that détente among the Brexiters may still be a long way off.