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No Sacred Cows  
Toby Young
Thursday 31st October 2019

You’d need a heart of stone not to laugh at the death of the People’s Vote


It was the second-best piece of news this week after Boris’s Tuesday night victory in the House of Commons. On Sunday, the Observer ran a story about the ferocious in-fighting that had broken out in the People’s Vote campaign. Roland Rudd, the multi-millionaire Chair of Open Britain, the organisation that controls the campaign, sacked four of the directors over the weekend, including James McGrory, the campaign director, and Tom Baldwin, the communications director. This followed a failed boardroom coup against Rudd led by Alastair Campbell and Peter Mandelson which the Mail on Sunday wrote about the week before.

On Monday, the story got even better. Rudd was due to address campaign staff at the People’s Vote headquarters in Millbank Tower on Monday morning at 9am, but after he discovered that McGrory and Baldwin had turned up to work – in effect, refusing to recognise Rudd’s authority – he refused to enter the building and instead gave an interview to Sky News. In response, dozens of staff staged a walkout and set up shop in the café of the Tate Britain round the corner.

It sounds like the Remain equivalent of the Judean People’s Front versus the People’s Front of Judea, but there’s an important point of disagreement between the two factions. Rudd wants the People’s Vote to stop pretending that it’s campaigning for a second referendum for purely ‘democratic’ reasons – because Leave’s 2016 campaign was dishonest, because the public is now better informed, because people should have a ‘final say’, etc., etc. – and come clean about the fact that it’s pro-Remain. The other side, by contrast, wants to keep up the masquerade. (To read more, click here.)

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