Company behind People’s Vote used controversial Blue Telecoms in referendum campaign


  • Open Britain, the company behind the People’s Vote campaign, was originally The In Campaign/Stronger In
  • Blue Telecoms was the company exposed in a Channel 4 undercover operation that led to a warning to the Tories from the Information Commissioner and a lengthy police investigation
  • TIC/Stronger In also contracted Blue Telecoms for apparently identical services, according to Blue Telecoms’ CEO

For full disclosure, the author of this article voted ‘remain’ in the EU referendum.

Saturday’s march in London by the “People’s Vote” campaign that is run by the organisation Open Britain has highlighted the strength of feeling among a significant number of people eager to reverse the UK’s impending departure from the European Union.

Stronger In

Open Britain claims to be a ‘grassroots’ campaign, but is run by or associated with an array of centrists and Tories – and critics of the campaign have accused it of being a vehicle for attacks on the Labour leadership.

Open Britain was named in the aftermath of the EU referendum result, but its earlier incarnation was as the company behind ‘Britain Stronger in Europe‘ (Stronger In), the official ‘remain’ campaign organisation, as Stronger In’s website and Open Britain’s entry at Companies’ House reveal:

Blue Telecoms

Blue Telecoms is the company exposed last year by Channel 4 conducting paid canvassing on behalf of the Tory party, in the 2017 general election campaign, that may have broken electoral and data protection laws – and the Canary had already revealed that the working relationship, involving the same activities, extended back as far as the 2015 general election:

c4 bluet.png

Channel 4 showed that the company had:

  • called voters who had opted out of receiving unsolicited calls
  • pretended to be conducting market research while in fact carrying out political canvassing
  • lied about its identity – another legal no-no – while making the calls

Blue Telecoms was intimately involved with the Tories’ election campaign – emails published exclusively by the SKWAWKBOX showed the company scrambling for more staff and for overtime from existing and recent staff as the Conservatives’ desperation at the ‘Corbyn surge’ grew.

The Tories received a warning from the Information Commissioner in October last year over the ‘unlawful’ activities of Blue Telecoms. Police were also investigating the issue, but an investigation under the Representation of the People Act was controversially dropped last June.

The reveal

Smack in the middle of Blue Telecoms’ two campaigns for the Tories sat the EU referendum campaign – and according to the Linkedin page of the company’s CEO, it was not electorally idle:

bt bsie.png

Mr Lopez’s full Linkedin profile gives more detail – and describes the company’s activities for ‘Stronger In’ in exactly the same terms as those carried out for the Tories:

sl bsie.png

It’s also worth noting that the period described covers the final weeks of the referendum campaign, when the growing likelihood of a ‘leave’ win would have been dawning on the remain campaign.

Open Britain, as the company originally behind Stronger In, and Blue Telecoms CEO Sascha Lopez hace been emailed for comment and asked about the precise nature of the activities Blue Telecom undertook for Stronger In.

Neither had responded by the time of publication.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

Open Britain is, according to Companies House, the same legal entity as Stronger In.

Would the large crowd who turned out yesterday for Open Britain’s “people’s vote” march have cared if they knew that the company that organised the march, when it was the official remain campaign organisation, used a company in the vital final stages of the referendum campaign whose activities in the referendum campaign led to a formal rebuke for the Tory party from the Information Commissioner and triggered a lengthy police investigation?

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  1. “Would the large crowd who turned out yesterday for Open Britain’s “people’s vote” march have cared if they knew that the company that organised the march, when it was the official remain campaign organisation, used a company in the vital final stages of the referendum campaign whose activities in the referendum campaign led to a formal rebuke for the Tory party from the Information Commissioner and triggered a lengthy police investigation?”
    In a word….No. They couldn’t care less and will come back with “leave cheated”, “the red bus lied” and people didn’t know what they were voting for anyway.
    Syzygysue posted an astonishing link which shows that people who identify as “centrists” are anything but:-
    We need to fear them and their authoritarian anti-democratic intentions.

    1. “No. They couldn’t care less and will come back with “leave cheated”, “the red bus lied” and people didn’t know what they were voting for anyway.”

      All of which are truths which cannot be denied.

  2. All of this doesn’t surprise me one bit. Over the last few years I’ve really felt cultural anger directed towards me, from the mainstream media and social media, because I dared vote Leave.

    In essence the People’s Vote is the ruling class pointing an index finger at the plebs whilst issuing a clear instruction: ‘get it right this time’.

    1. For heaven’s sake : the majority of the capitalist media has been solidly in favour of ‘Leave’. *That’s* where the propaganda effort has come from, not some illusory ‘establishment’ source.

      Whoever else was involved, Saturday’s march was about ordinary people getting off their arses about an issue that they felt strongly about.

      The ‘working class’ v. ‘the establishment’ trope about ‘Leave’ is pure mythology. Aligning oneself with Farage, IDS, Mogg, Johnson, Redwood et al. is to align oneself with as much part of the establishment as any other part – in this case the ones who will short sell to make a fast buck on the markets and are looking to de-regulate and stuff the ordinary Joe in the process. They are not working class heroes, and to think that voting ‘Leave’ is some sort of egalitarian revolutionary act is laughable.

      Which is why the majority of Labour voters and Party members voted ‘Remain’.

      1. Ella, ‘RH’ didn’t prove your point, he/she demolished it and it’s such a shame you don’t recognise the truth in RH’s comment which was that the ‘ruling class’ WANTED you to vote Leave.

      2. Jack T.

        Thanks for your kind words.

        If the ruling class had wanted the working class to vote Leave, then why was the People’s Vote stage been taken up by millionaires?

        There was Vince Cable (architect of Royal Mail privatisation), Chuka Umunna, on a mission to destroy Corbyn and not the Tories and Anna Soubry who has voted multiple times to cut benefits for the poor and disabled. Hardly working class warriors.

        A reminder… They want a second EU Referendum so that the plebs can vote correctly this time… Silly plebs.

        Jo Maughan QC also called Jeremy Corbyn ‘Mussolini’ today. He’s another Tory who doesn’t like Brexit or Leave voters either.

      3. Ella, there are of course a selection of people who joined the march for their own reasons, including wanting to damage Corbyn. But none of the people you mentioned are from the establishment. Why? because the ‘establishment’ wanted you to vote Leave for goodness sake.

    2. Ella, it’s not only leavers facing abuse as I’m sure you’d concede.
      Tories pretend all the vitriolic abuse comes from the left – we expect it from them.
      Nobody on Earth can truthfully claim certainty regarding the reasons people voted how they did, the relative honesty of each campaign, the vote itself or its consequences past, present or future.
      There are only theories, assumptions and ulterior motives.

  3. No they won’t care because they were determined to press for their class interests and individual interests regardless of the referendum decision.

    Their abandonment of democracy mimics that of their beloved EU: if the public vote against European integration, force them to vote again until they vote the ‘right’ way – the EU strategy since Maastricht.

    The protestors’ indifference to the’ lower orders’ is explored by Giles Fraser in this article:


    1. I read the link.

      I suspect, if these Remainers win a second EU Referendum and Britain rejoins the EU, that what will happen is there will be an immediate and sickening spectacle of the rich and famous rejoicing, which will reverberate throughout the mainstream media, followed immediately by more austerity.

      I agree with the article’s conclusion, that if this scenario does happen, those who voted Leave may feel betrayed and they may become cynical about ‘democracy’ itself, which in the context of increasing austerity may lead to the far right gaining ground and fascism enjoying a new found cultural legitimacy.

  4. And so it begins…..this suggestion of possible dirty tricks is just a tiny foretaste of what will happen, for months and months, if there ever is another referendum

  5. I think the majority of the people who walked at the march did not know the previous activity of If you read about the cheating and breaking of the electoral rules by the DUP and the Vote Leave campain, and the links of donors to Vote Leave with Putin (on the Guardian site for example) , how can you trust the results? This march is not about political bickering, but about wanting a fair vote where people know what they are voting for.
    “critics of the campaign have accused it of being a vehicle for attacks on the Labour leadership.” Where is the evidence on that? It’s just people from different horizons asking for transparency in electoral processes. There were a lot of young people at this demonstration, and I heard some chanting “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn”. I support Corbyn’s policies, but he’s letting the young generation down because it’s their future we’re talking about and he’s ignoring them, or he’s giving them the message that it’s ok to cheat. By the way, didn’t he vote Remain? If we want to leave a world to our children that is not too rotten, we’d better work together with other nations URGENTLY. It’s easy and quick to destroy, but long and difficult to nurture…

  6. If anyone thinks there is any advantage for ‘the average working person’ in leaving the EU, they are sadly mistaken. They were told they were voting against the establishment when it was plain as day it was the establishment who have been manipulating them and pressing to leave.

    Do you think Reece-Mog and his far right ERG are working class? or even care about the working class? Do you think Boris, Farage, Gove and the myriad of other right wingers, including the press barons care about the working class? – they are the people who were driving Leave voters.

    Arron Banks and his mate Andy Wigmore admitted they didn’t get the Leave majority by stating facts, they achieved it by manipulating people’s emotions with statements like ‘immigrants are taking your jobs’ ‘immigrants are taking your houses’ ‘the EU is controlling our laws’ all disgraceful statements designed to split the working class and spread hatred so that they could get their way.

    Granted, there are left wingers who can make a case for Leave but I am firmly on the left and reject those arguments. There is no such thing as a good Brexit!

    1. I would vote Leave again without a second thought. At least out of the EU our leaders can’t hide behind EU legislation. Our politicians will become more accountable instead.

      We can also renationalise and support our own industries – both things which are prohibited under EU law (Article 106 & EU blocking Italy & UK from supporting its steel industry).

      Most crucially I took the chance to vote Leave because I knew there would never be another chance again. This is the big democratic deficit built in to the EU.

      If EU nationals are forced to pay their taxes towards it, then they should be offered a vote to join or leave it every ten or twenty years.

      The EU is an undemocratic, neoliberal force for bad that benefits the ruling class and American –
      European business goals. At this moment it is busy privatising all EU member states’ railway networks. The EU is poison.

      1. Ella, it’s obvious that I’m not going to convince you because I can see you believe in a set of ideas even though they have no sound basis.

        For example our politicians are accountable NOW and whether we are in or out of the EU it won’t make any difference. I have been out on the doorsteps canvassing today as I do every weekend WITH my local MP and I can assure you he is certainly accountable. If we leave it could actually have an adverse affect upon accountability. Because of the trade we are going to lose, it could force politicians to accept conditions with which they don’t agree just to recover the loss.

        It’s a fallacy which you and others keep pushing to say we can’t have nationalisation in the EU. I as a left winger am all in favour of nationalisation, staying in the EU will not prevent it.

        Regarding democracy, if you take the time to discover how laws are generated in the EU you will find it is one of the most democratic institutions on Earth. In fact one of the reasons the EU wants us to stay is so that we can continue to introduce sensible and workable rules/laws as we have done since we joined. You may not know it but Britain has introduced more legislation into the EU than any other country and we have rarely been voted down.

        Again, contrary to what you say, if we leave it will make it even more inevitable we will be subject to America’s much lower food hygiene standards and their voracious appetite for take-overs, especially with respect to our NHS.

        ‘Leave’ is a right wing idea promoted by the far right, how on earth could anyone who claims to be on the left be fooled by it?

      2. You must be correct Jack T.

        The EU was being ‘left wing’ when it attacked French union laws and when it imposed austerity on Greece and Portugal.

        I think Angela Merkel tried to be even more left wing and went into full Che Guevara mode when she requested that pensions be taken off the Greek pensioners to pay the debt. I don’t think she succeeded.

      3. Ella, it appears to be quite obvious now that you are getting your information from the Nigel Farage catalogue of spin.

        As far as I understand it Merkel along with others said that the Greek pension system needed reform as it was unsustainable given the number of pensioners against the number of workers to fund it and this would need to happen whether or not Greece was in the EU. She never requested pensions be taken off pensioners.

        However, if I am wrong, please let me have some evidence to support your contention – thanks.

  7. EU Accountability? Yet more distance between the people & our reps. How many people even know who their MEP is? Remember where austerity starts in EU & Macron has Trade Unionists regularly demonstrating on the streets of Paris. Gold plated pensions will never be reformed, not in GB or EU; no economic nor political system is designed to benefit the poor, but blaming pensioners in Greece for their country’s economic decline? (unless we have a Socialist gov’t). Remember, for Merkel & Germany, WW2 is not over, there is unfinished business, starting in Yugoslavia (arms for Croatia) & now Ukraine. Greece is just another step on the way. Germany is now a major arms dealer & the Troika, the power institutions of the EU are dominated by German bankers & USA(IMF).
    Powerful MSM in GB will not ‘run’ with this story (ref. Open Britain) because it does not coincide with their preferred narrative, which at present is promoting a 2nd Referendum. So much for open democracy in Neo-Liberal GB.

  8. Maybot is a ‘remainer’. When she says “Brexit means Brexit” you believe her? We will never leave the Hotel California, perhaps Brexit in name only; not even that. Farage; Gove;Johnson; Mogg et al are the specially chosen ‘spokesmen’ who represent the right wing of the Tory Party/UKIP, the only show in town. MSM will not allow a platform for Dennis Skinner or anyone else who dares criticise the EU from a Socialist perspective.

  9. Steve, I think all those ills irking you can be blamed on rampant capitalism, not specifically on the EU. Don’t chuck the baby out with the bathwater!

    And by the way, our representatives are still our MPs who are as close to you as your phone.

  10. When they said: ‘You don’t know what you’re voting for’ , perhaps they weren’t wrong.

  11. Good afternoon Comrade Jack,
    many of those ills irking me can be blamed on what Tony Benn named ‘The Capitalist Club’ & I wish it was as easy as throwing out bath water. You are right about many things Jack & you are right about being able to ‘phone our representatives, but let me address one of the problems about this version of democracy (ie the ability to vote for someone else’s choice) ……..the vast majority of MPs voted ‘Remain’ but the ‘People’ voted Leave. The vast majority of Labour MPs voted ‘Remain’, but their constituencies did not. The vast majority of Labour MPs would support Tony Blair, rather than Jeremy Corbyn. The PM who negotiates on our behalf is a ‘Remainer’. There are no political parties that support ‘Leavers’, (no Jack, UKIP doesn’t count) so who represents us, certainly not MSM? We have no voice, other than those Tory tw…. that the media nominate. Reece-Mogg would have kittens if a ‘Socialist’ argument was ever presented as reasons to leave. No, bitter & twisted lemons are the only fruit allowed.
    Take Care Comrade.

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