Millionaire financiers, a “climate denial” fracker and a man connected to a £425,000 “dark money” donation are amongst the figures backing a hard Brexit revealed in leaked text messages.
The figures were revealed to be active members of a “Brexit outreach group” on WhatsApp along with leading Tory Brexiteer Steve Baker in messages leaked to The Times. The membership of the group is a reminder of the vested interests pushing for a hard Brexit:
- Edgar Miller: A Texas-born venture capitalist and the convenor of Economists for Free Trade, an organisation currently pushing for a No Deal Brexit. Miller has reportedly donated to a “climate denial charity” headed by Tory peer Lord Lawson and to climate sceptic Christopher Monckton. He is also said to have boasted of his “very successful” investment in one of the first fracking companies.
- Richard Cook: The chair of the Constitutional Research Council, a controversial unionist group accused of funnelling £425,000 of “dark money” from unknown sources into the DUP’s pro-Brexit campaign. Over £32,000 of that money was spent on a firm linked to Cambridge Analytica that is being investigated by the Information Commission.
- Jon Moynihan: Another millionaire financier and a director of Vote Leave, to whom he also donated. Moynihan recently joined the board of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), the controversial think tank facing a double investigation over accusations it offered access to government ministers in return for donations.
- Andrew Lilico: Another IEA man and director of the Europe Economics think tank, Lilico recently expanded the boundaries of bad taste by wondering aloud on Twitter if the murder of Jo Cox had cost the Leave campaign a more resounding victory in the referendum.
- Andrew Allison: Head of Campaigns for the Freedom Association, whose unique approach to freedom has seen it condemn the depiction of Jesus Christ as a sausage roll but defend posters inviting pubgoers to “bag a slag”.
Other Brexit campaigners in the group include freelance academic and self-confessed “Russophile” Anna Bailey, former Vote Leave Head of Fundraising Helen Meyer, pro-Brexit lawyer Tom Bohills and Stand Up for Brexit activist Peter Ward.
It shows that the campaign for a hard Brexit is still being driven by the same mix of millionaire financiers and vested interests.