Thursday, 23 December 2010

The Conservative run #No2AV Campaign #YesInMay #Yes2AV

The 'No to AV' campaign has had several months to recruit their 'truly cross-party, non-partisan grassroots campaign' team. Behind the spin and after all these months the names behind the key posts at 'No to AV' are all Conservative and we still don't know who is funding them:


Rodney Leach - or Lord Leach to give him his proper title, is the Chair of the NO to AV campaign he is a Conservative Peer and Chairman of the euroscpetic think tank Open Europe.

Matthew Elliott - Campaign Director, was Chief Executive of the Tax Payers Alliance and was presented with the Conservative Way Forward 'One of Us' award by William Hague (himself a patron of the NO to AV campaign).

Peter Botting - Director of Communications, a freelancer who lists on his website as clients "A number of current Conservative Party Members of Parliament from the 2005 and 2010 intakes - including 34 from the 2010 intake". Peter Botting lists no other parties as clients.

William Norton - Referendum Agent, a solicitor, councillor and Conservative Party candidate for Birmingham Perry Barr in May 2010, he was also Campaigns Director for the No to the North East Regional Assembly campaign. William Norton has written many blog posts on Conservative Home, saying only 'losers' like PR and suggesting the best way to fight a referendum is to 'ignore the maniacs'.

Stephen Parkinson – National Organiser (Conservatives) and Head of Research. He was Conservative candidate for Newcastle North in May 2010, and former Director for Margaret Thatcher's favourite think tank the Centre for Policy Studies.

Andrew Sells - Treasurer. Top Conservative donor, according to The Times. An Andrew Sells donated £2,250 to the Conservative Party Central Office in March of this year and a further £2,500 in September and donated £5,500 in December 2009; a non-cash donation of an auction item worth £75,000 was also made. It is not clear if this is the same Andrew Sells. However Andrew Sells is also Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of Policy Exchange, a centre-right think tank. Search the donations yourself.

Dylan Sharpe - Head of Press, worked on the Boris Johnson campaign for Mayor as Press Officer and moved to City Hall with Boris, from there he moved to centre-right think tank Policy Exchange (where Andrew Sells is a member of the Board of Trustees) and then to Big Brother Watch. Check out his twitter bio and tweets.

Charlotte Vere - National Organiser (Events and Digital), Conservative candidate for Brighton Pavilion at the May 2010 election, who ran a fairly gaffe-ridden campaign, where she was eventually leap-frogged by the 2005 third placed Greens, who won the seat. Prior to being selected for Brighton she worked for the Zac Goldsmith campaign in Richmond Park.

The NO to AV website says "NO to AV is a truly cross-party, non-partisan grassroots campaign." The list above of key staff of the No to AV campaign demonstrates that the No to AV campaign is far from non-partisan or grassroots and is in effect a front for the Conservatives who oppose AV. Why hide it?
- for previous comment see - Exposed: how Tories run the 'No-2-AV' campaign

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