Theresa May to bring in Brexit campaign chief to shake up Tory party

  • Brexit campaigner Matthew Elliott reportedly is in talks to join Conservative Party HQ.
  • May wants the former Vote Leave head to give the party a shake-up following its dismal general election campaign.

LONDON — Theresa May is attempting to hire the former head of the Leave campaign in order to shake up the Conservative Party following the June general election.

Matthew Elliott, who was chief executive of Vote Leave during the EU referendum campaign, is in talks with the Tories about joining Conservative Headquarters in a senior role, The Times reported on Thursday.

Elliott would most likely be brought in as a Tory vice-chairman and the appointment is seen as an effort to stop a repeat of the disastrous election campaign, in which the party ended up losing its parliamentary majority.

The move would also reassure Leave-supporting ministers, MPs and party activists that the Conservatives were still the party of Brexit, after fears that the UK was heading towards a “soft” Brexit deal.

The former Vote Leave chief executive is thought to be a good pick by the prime minister because of his organisation of the Brexit campaign during the referendum. Elliott also masterminded the ‘No’ campaign in the 2011 alternative vote referendum and helped found the low-tax pressure group the Taxpayers’ Alliance.

He is now a senior fellow at the pro-free trade think tank the Legatum Institute and an editor-at-large for Brexit Central, a pro-Leave media outlet.

However, Elliott is not popular among all Brexit-supporting Conservatives, with one Tory source telling The Times: “If May thinks that appointing Elliott is going to make all the Brexit mob happy she’s in for a shock.”

There is thought to be a split between Elliott and Dominic Cummings, Vote Leave’s campaign director, who is a close ally of Environment Secretary Michael Gove.

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