Rahul Sharma

Campaigning in the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016

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Campaigning in the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016

Campaigning in the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum began unofficially on Saturday 20 February 2016 when Prime Minister David Cameron formally announced under the terms of the European Union Referendum Act 2015 that a referendum would be held on the issue of the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union. The official campaign period for the 2016 referendum ran from Friday 15 April 2016 until the day of the poll on Thursday 23 June 2016.


Designation of official campaign groups

At the close of applications on 31 March only Britain Stronger in Europe had applied to the Electoral Commission for the official "remain" designation. Three competing applications were submitted for the official "leave" designation. The Electoral Commission announced the designated campaign groups for the leave and remain sides on 13 April 2016, two days before the official ten-week campaign period began.

  • Designated official leading Remain campaigning group: Britain Stronger in Europe
  • Designated official leading Leave campaigning group: Vote Leave
  • Academics for Europe

    Represents any academic that is for EU membership for the UK. They seek to unite students and more senior academics in a campaign that aims to increase awareness among the wider public of the benefits and positive impact the UK’s EU membership has for academia and higher education.

    Another Europe is Possible

    Another Europe is a campaign for a radical ‘in’ vote – building a community that is pro-EU even while it works towards building a stronger, reformed union that can bring about the radical social change our citizens need in the UK and across Europe.

    Brand EU

    A group that is ‘generating a people movement for the millions that believe in European unity’ and as part of its campaign to keep Britain in the EU, is tackling many of the myths that have built up around EU membership.

    Britain Stronger in Europe

    Britain Stronger in Europe (formally The in Campaign Ltd) is a cross-party lobbying group campaigning for the United Kingdom to remain in the European Union in the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016. It was launched at the Truman Brewery in London on 12 October 2015 and declared as the official "Remain" campaign for the referendum by the Electoral Commission on 13 April 2016.

    British Influence

    British Influence, formally the Centre for British Influence Through Europe, is an independent, cross-party, pro-single market foreign affairs think tank based in the United Kingdom arguing that that EU membership improves the UK's prosperity, security and society through, respectively, the European Single Market, co-operation on tackling organised crime and terrorism and through the increased peace and transparency that comes from international collaboration.

    Business for new Europe

    Britain’s leading pro-European business coalition and has long been campaigning for British businesses to get involved in a more competitive and open European market. To this end they not only want Britain to remain within the EU but also make calls for reform of the EU.

    Cambridge for Europe

    Cambridge for Europe is a local, community campaign group aiming to ensure that the people of Cambridge and surrounding areas fully understand the arguments for continued membership of the EU. They believe this is an incredibly important issue to individuals, families and their communities.

    Conservatives Europe Group

    The Conservative Group for Europe believes in a hard-headed promotion of British interests in Europe as a committed participant.

    Conservatives In

    Members of the Conservative Party supporting the UK remaining in the European Union. Conservatives In believe the UK has the best of both worlds with its "special status" in the EU. The campaign has the backing of the majority of Conservative MPs. Conservatives in was launched by Prime Minister David Cameron on 24 February 2016.

    Environmentalists for Europe

    Chaired by the father of Boris Johnson and former MEP Stanley Johnson, Environmentalists for Europe is "standing up for Britain's place in Europe – we are stronger, cleaner and greener in the EU". They argue that its "because of European protections that our beaches are cleaner, our countryside protected, our air cleaner and our food safer".

    European Movement UK

    An independent, non-partisan, grassroots organisation that works to promote the idea that the UK’s brightest future lies in close partnership with its European neighbours. It is part of the European Movement International network that has been campaigning for peace, stability, better jobs and prosperity through European integration for over 70 years.

    Federal Trust for Education and Research

    The Federal Trust is a research institute studying the interactions between regional, national, European and global levels of government. Founded in 1945 on the initiative of Sir William Beveridge, it has long made a powerful contribution to the study of federalism and federal systems. It has always had a particular interest in the European Union and Britain’s place in it.

    Friends of the Earth Trust

    The Friends of the Earth Trust state that "Being part of the European Union has given us: cleaner beaches and drinking water, less air pollution, safer products and protected wildlife.

    Generation Europe

    Generation Europe are making the case for students and young people to remain a part of a reformed European Union.

    Global Justice Now

    Global Justice Now is a democratic social justice organisation working as part of a global movement to challenge the powerful and create a more just and equal world.

    Greens For A Better Europe

    Greens For A Better Europe is The Green Party of England and Wales campaign backing continued EU membership for the UK. The Green Party wants Britain to remain a part of the EU because "we believe that we flourish when we work together on the shared challenges we face".

    Healthier IN the EU

    Healthier IN the EU was set up to represent health professionals, carers, patients and researchers who see the benefits that the EU brings to our public health every day. Many health concerns span borders from large scale environmental challenges like air pollution to more individual concerns like the millions of cases of rare diseases that no single country can hope to tackle on their own.

    Historians for Britain IN Europe

    Historians for Britain IN Europe "believe that a British withdrawal from the European Union would irretrievably damage Britain’s position in the world and undermine for decades to come the stability and coherence of what would once again be a divided Europe."

    Hug A Brit

    Hug A Brit was a social media campaign organised by a group of continental Europeans living in London who wanted to highlight the deep human connections that had resulted from the European integration under the EU and cut through the hostile and negative undertones of many other referendum campaigns. They posted hugs between themselves and their fellow non-British EU citizens hugging British friends, family members, strangers, icons of British culture and in a few cases symbols of Britain to express human bonds, sympathy, fear of loss and the plea not to be made foreigners in their adopted home country. The campaign went viral and soon thousands of people from around the world had posted pictures of themselves on social media using the hashtag #hugabrit to show support.

    #INtogether (Liberal Democrats)

    1. INtogether was the official Liberal Democrat party campaign supporting the UK's membership of the EU. The Liberal Democrats are generally seen as the most pro-EU political party in UK politics, with every current Lib Dem MP, MEP, MSP, Wales AM and London AM supporting EU membership.

    Irish for Europe

    Irish for Europe believe "Irish people living in the UK have a lot to lose if the Brexit vote wins. For security, for the economy, and for the freedom to live, travel and work in the UK, we are better off with the UK as part of Europe".

    Keep Scotland in the EU

    Keep Scotland in the EU is a community that is determined to raise the profile of the benefits of EU membership to Scotland. Scotland is more Euro-friendly than other parts of the UK but may be pulled out by the dominance of England-based voters and Scotland will have to fight to join pro-EU voices to stay in.

    Labour In for Britain

    The Labour Party's adopted position is to support the UK remaining in the EU. Labour In is the party's official campaign pushing for a remain vote in the UK referendum on EU membership. Only 7 Labour MPs back a leave vote. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has warned that a Brexit vote would damage workers' rights. Labour In was led by Alan Johnson MP and was launched on 1 December 2015.

    Labour Movement for Europe

    The Labour Movement for Europe is a Socialist Society affiliated to the Labour Party whose aim is to improve and broaden the understanding of the European Union and its potential throughout the wider Labour movement and the United Kingdom. It is the home of the pro-Europeans in the Labour and trade union movement.

    Lawyers – In For Britain

    A group of hundreds of lawyers who consider that the UK’s interests are best served by remaining in the EU.

    London First

    London First is committed to remaining within the European Union (EU), in large part because of the economic benefits of the Single Market, and sees great opportunities for Britain to lead a deepening of that market to drive jobs and growth across the country.

    New Europeans

    New Europeans promotes the benefits of EU membership with a focus on the rights of EU citizens especially the right to freedom of movement. As such, it represents 2.5 million EU citizens that have moved to the UK to live, work or study and over 2 million UK citizens who have moved to other EU states.

    Out 4 In

    Out 4 is a social media campaign aiming to promote the benefits of EU membership for the LGBT community – and for everyone! An inclusive, grassroots, pro-EU community.

    Pro Europa

    Pro Europa runs a broad campaign based on the EU’s benefits for jobs, trade, consumer rights, peace and democracy, collective power to get better trade deals and power to take on today’s global multi-national giants that are bigger than most individual countries.

    Say Yes to Europe

    Say Yes to Europe is dedicated to traditional, popular, grassroots action. They focus on sharing information on the benefits of EU membership for citizen rights and also on ensuring the referendum is open to all residents of the UK.

    Scientists for EU

    A campaign by UK scientists to keep the UK in the EU. The campaign argues science is vital for the UK's economy and quality of life, and that science is at the heart of global and social challenges that face us all. Scientists for EU believe that "we can achieve so much more good for the UK and the world from within the EU".

    St Andrews for Europe (SAfE)

    A group run for the people of St Andrews – both students and residents. Their aims are to increase awareness of the current EU debate and upcoming EU referendum. They are aligned with a pro-EU membership objective but welcome opposing views to join and make a richer debate. Supported by the Students for Europe group as well as the Britain Stronger in Europe Campaign, we are a cross-party aimed at preserving the strength of our European Union.

    Stay in Europe

    A campaign dedicated to promoting the benefits to the UK of EU membership and why it is better to stay ‘in’. A key point is the common problems we share that can be better addressed if we unite with our European neighbours.

    Students for Europe

    Students for Europe is coordinated by European Movement and is determined to build a large coalition of young people, across the country and across the social and political divides, who will come together to keep the UK safe, prosperous and powerful, at the heart of Europe.

    Third Generation Environmentalism

    Third Generation Environmentalism believe "membership of the EU offers substantial benefits on energy and climate change that a ‘leave’ vote would require the UK to forego, making the transition to a low carbon economy more expensive and less secure".

    UK Indians for Remaining in Europe

    UK Indians for Remaining in Europe state "We are united in our belief that the UK is stronger, safer and better off as a member of the EU". "Contrary to the argument made by some, that Britain needs to leave the EU in order to strengthen its ties with Commonwealth countries, we believe that our membership of the EU helps to enhance and strengthen the UK’s partnership with countries like India".

    UK to Stay in the EU

    Aims to engage 50,000 volunteers to collectively win 15 million votes to remain in the EU at the upcoming referendum. They estimate 15 million is the minimum number required to secure a victory. They are a purely grassroots organisation.

    Universities for Europe (Universities UK)

    The Universities for Europe campaign, led by Universities UK, aims to "show the value of EU membership to our universities and why this matters to British people". They believe "The UK's membership of the European Union makes our outstanding universities even stronger".

    Wake Up Europe

    Wake Up Europe is a campaign set up by the Wake Up Foundation, to facilitate a transnational debate on the future of Europe inspired by the documentary The Great European Disaster Movie. They believe in the founding principles of the EU and wish for it to continue but they also believe in the need for reform and to 'rescue the EU from itself'. They aim to empower ordinary people – in the UK and the rest of Europe – to come together and discuss these issues so that the future of the EU is taken out of the hands of political and media elites.

    Wales 4 Europe

    Wales 4 Europe believes that Wales benefits greatly from the EU including Objective One aid packages, tariff free trade providing a much needed boost to Welsh businesses and protection for workers. They also promote the EU’s benefits for the environment.

    We Are Europe

    We are Europe gathers and mobilises the energy of eight European events, both festivals and forums, supporting European culture, high artistic standards, cultural innovation and creation. This common project aims to develop a European and prospective vision of electronic and digital cultures, cultural entrepreneurship, innovation and new technology.

    Workers’ Europe

    Workers’ Europe has the following aims: Vote against UK withdrawal from the EU, Defend migrants’ rights, Oppose racism and Campaign for a workers’ Europe based on solidarity between working people.

    Young European Movement

    Young European Movement was formed in 1972 as a non-partisan platform for pro-European opinions of the under 35s. They have a history of organising events, running campaigns and even bringing education into schools. They are volunteer run and seek to promote European integration and a stronger European Union.

    Vote Leave

    Vote Leave is an organisation that campaigns for Britain to leave the European Union. On 13 April 2016, Vote Leave was designated by the Electoral Commission as the official campaign in favour of leaving the European Union for the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum. Vote Leave was created in October 2015 and is a cross-party campaign, including members of Parliament from Conservatives, Labour, and UKIP.


    Leave.EU is an organisation campaigning for the Leave vote in the upcoming United Kingdom European Union membership referendum. Founded in July 2015 as The Know, the campaign was relaunched in September 2015 with its present name to reflect altered wording in the referendum question. The campaign, along with rival organisation Vote Leave, aimed to be formally designated as the lead campaign for the Leave vote by the Electoral Commission. On 13 April 2016, Vote Leave was designated by the Electoral Commission as the official campaign.

    Grassroots Out

    Grassroots Out was formed in January 2016 as a result of infighting between Vote Leave and Leave.EU and officially launched on 23 January 2016 in Kettering. Despite its name, it was started by politicians from a mixture of political parties including Peter Bone, Tom Pursglove, Liam Fox of the Conservatives, Kate Hoey of Labour, Nigel Farage of UKIP and Sammy Wilson of the DUP.

    Labour Leave

    Labour Leave is a campaign group within the Labour Party (UK) opposed to the United Kingdom's continued membership of the European Union and led by Labour MP's Kate Hoey, Graham Stringer, Kelvin Hopkins, and Roger Godsiff.

    Left Leave

    Left Leave is a left-wing group campaigning for the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union. It is made up of a coalition of left-wing political parties and organisations, such as the Communist Party of Great Britain, the Respect Party and the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers. The Left Leave campaign is chaired by Robert Griffiths, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Great Britain.

    Trade Union and Socialist Coalition

    The Trade Union and Socialist Coalition also applied to be the official "leave" campaign. It purports to represent anti-austerity campaigners who wish to leave the EU rather than other leave groups who represent "pro-business" views.

    Green Leaves

    Within the Green Party (which supports Remain): An organisation of Green Party members who are campaigning to leave the EU. Baroness Jenny Jones is a supporter.

    Liberal Leave

    Within the Liberal Democrats (which supports Remain): A campaign group of Liberal Democrat activists who want to leave the EU, includes councillors and former MP for Hereford, Paul Keetch. Also supported by the Liberal Party.

    Campaign anthems

    Both the Remain and Leave campaigns have released songs to promote their messages. Gruff Rhys for the Remain team entitles his song I love EU. For the Leave campaign, UKIP Parliamentary Candidate Mandy Boylett [1] created a parody of the Three Lions anthem. David Baddiel, who penned the original Three Lions, described this version as "brilliantly naff". Guido Fawkes used Mandy Boylett's song as the backing track to his end of referendum summary, Guido's referendum best bits.

    On 13 June 2016 Mandy Boylett launched a follow up Brexit song, penning new words to Pink's Get this party started. The new song was immediately reported across the British Press including the Daily Express, City AM

    Individual endorsements

    A number of politicians, public figures, newspapers and magazines, businesses and other organisations endorsed an official position during the Referendum campaign. These are listed in the article above.

    Campaigning in Gibraltar

    Unlike all other British overseas territories, Gibraltar is part of the UK's EU membership and consequently the territory will participate in the referendum. As of March 2016, all major parties within the Gibraltarian parliament support a "remain" vote.


    Campaigning in the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016 Wikipedia

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