- 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.
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 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:
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.
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:
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:
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.
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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