EU referendum: 10 alternatives to the official Leave and Remain campaigns

By Brian Wheeler
Political reporter

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Want something different to the two campaigns battling it out for your vote in the EU referendum? There are plenty of low-budget alternatives, with a different take on the contest.

More than 70 groups have registered with the Electoral Commission, from one-man-band mavericks to long established campaigns and political parties. They are limited to spending £700,000, although few will raise anything like that amount. By contrast, Vote Leave and Britain Stronger In Europe - the official out and in campaigns - have £7m spending limits.

Here are five Leave campaigns that caught our eye.


image copyrightBrexitthemovie

The documentary makers are better known for Discovery channel fare like Nasa's Unexplained Files and How Do They Do it? They are now registered as an official Leave the EU campaign thanks to their latest project, a crowd-funded feature film entitled Brexit: The Movie. Written and directed by Martin Durkin, described as a "committed and passionate Eurosceptic" whose previous works include The Great Climate Change Swindle, the film has a budget of £300,000, raised partly on Kickstarter. It is set to premiere next month at the Odeon in Leicester Square and will then be available to download for free.

The Democracy Movement

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In 1997, five million households woke up to discover a VHS video cassette on their doormats, promoting the case for a referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union. it was a product of The Referendum Party, the brainchild of Sir James Goldsmith, pictured, billionaire industrialist and father of Conservative London mayoral candidate Zac. After Sir James' death, his widow Lady Annabel kept the referendum cause alive and it has morphed over the years into the Democracy Movement, which is running a proudly independent campaign to get Britain out of the EU.

Vapers for Britain

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One of the more niche campaigns to have registered with the Commission, Vapers for Britain is backed by e-cigarette retailers, who are campaigning against EU regulations that would hit their industry. The group is affiliated to Vote Leave.


Darren Grimes - a 22-year-old Brighton University student and contributor to BBC Generation 2015 - has launched a social media campaign with his friends to persuade Britain's youth to vote for an EU exit. The bigger exit campaigns "don't give young people enough of a voice," says Mr Grimes. His campaign BeLeave is promoting a "positive," pro-immigration message, he tells BBC News. "Young people have the most to gain by voting to leave," he adds.


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Yes, the SDP. The centre left party that briefly threatened to break the mould of British politics in the 1980s still exists. Its one-time leader Lord Owen is a leading figure in Vote Leave. The small group of activists and local councillors who keep his dream alive, long after he abandoned it, have also come out in favour of Brexit.

And here are five Remain campaigns that caught our eye:

Priscilla Nwikpo

image copyrightPriscilla Nwikpo

Priscilla Nwikipo a presenter on BEN TV, a satellite channel aimed at African and Caribbean families, is planning her own campaign to keep Britain in the EU. She wants to work with Britain Stronger in Europe but tells BBC News she can reach parts of the community the mainstream campaign can't. She wants to reach out to faith groups and is working with the African Votes Count campaign to target the more than four million people in the UK who are of African descent. Her aim, she says, is to get across the "tangible" benefits of EU membership.

In for the win

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Set up by Katie Pruszynski, a former adviser to Conservative MP Chloe Smith, In For The Win is a cross-party effort to get young people to vote to stay in the EU. The official remain campaign is "preaching to the converted" by focusing its youth push on universities, argues Pruszynski. She aims to use social media to start a conversation with a broader range of young people. The Sheffield-based campaign is operating on a shoestring, but it has a funky website.

Friends of the Earth

image copyrightFriends of the Earth

A number of environmental groups have registered as Remain campaigners but Friends of the Earth appears to be among the most active. It is holding events around the country with Green MP Caroline Lucas, various Labour MPs and one Stanley Johnson, father of leading Brexiteer Boris, among the speakers. "Climate change doesn't stop in one country", argues Friends of the Earth chief executive Craig Bennett, pictured above, in a campaign video.


An international network of lawyers who campaign to protect the environment, Clientearth is backed financially by Coldplay, among others, and counts the band's producer Brian Eno, pictured, among its trustees. The organisation has registered as a Remain campaign "to ensure complete transparency," a spokesman says, even though its spending is likely to be "minimal". "We are however strongly opposed to the UK leaving the EU on environmental grounds. Our campaign is solely based on environmental issues and not the general principle of Brexit," he adds.

Republican Socialists

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The tiny Republican Socialist Party campaigns for the abolition of the Monarchy and the Westminster Parliament. It is registered as a Remain campaign, although it appears to favour mass abstention in 23 June's referendum. "As socialists we want the working class to lead a European democratic revolution. This aim is diametrically opposed to the politics of 'Leave' or 'Remain,'" writes leading light Steve Freeman on his blog.

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