Anti-Brexit youth campaigners announce split from People's Vote campaign

PUBLISHED: 14:01 17 November 2019 | UPDATED: 17:37 17 November 2019

They can't decide - let us. People's Vote campaigners from Our Future Our Choice and For our Future's Sake outside the Houses of Parliament. Photograph: Our Future Our Choice.

They can't decide - let us. People's Vote campaigners from Our Future Our Choice and For our Future's Sake outside the Houses of Parliament. Photograph: Our Future Our Choice.

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Activists from an anti-Brexit youth campaign have announced they are severing ties with the People's Vote campaign, in the latest announcement to rock the second referendum organisation.

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For our Future's Sake and some of the staff from Our Future Our Choice announced the move because they believe outgoing boss Roland Rudd has "wrecked" a last-ditch effort to allow staff to return to the campaign to keep a second referendum on the agenda during the election.

In a letter on Friday night signed by staff from the youth organisations, as well as other People's Vote workers, Rudd was accused of "acting in bad faith" and "putting personal status before the needs of millions of people" in the country.

Despite Rudd announcing his departure last week, activists claim he still stands in the way of getting the campaign back on track after what they call a "boardroom coup" on the eve of the general election announcement.

The fallout started after Rudd sacked two senior members of staff, campaign director James McGrory and director of communications Tom Baldwin, replacing them with Patrick Heneghan. It prompted staff to walk out and then vote overwhelmingly that they had no confidence in Rudd. Heneghan, meanwhile, has had to step down following allegations of harassment towards female staff.

Now For our Future's Sake have announced a split from the organisation to press ahead with their plans for the general election campaign.

Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson, Co-Founder of FFS, said: "It's really important that we can mobilise young people in the seats that matter in this election. Too much effort has been wasted on competing organisations fighting over who has the best app or tactical voting website. We all know where the seats that matter are, we all know the risk of anti-Brexit votes being divided. We all just want to get on with campaigning once again."

"That's why it's vital we do this independently of the games being played over the data and money held by the People's Vote campaign. Boardroom plots by rich men like Roland Rudd cannot be allowed to jeopardize the future of this country. Young people deserve better, and FFS is ready to help them. We will fight this general election on our own terms, without compromising the safety of our staff or the integrity of our principles. And will be all the stronger for it."

Rudd had not responded to requests from the media for comment, but a People's Vote spokesperson stressed that the Our Future Our Choice organisation will remain under their umbrella.

Will Dry, co-founder of the OFOC group, added: "Our Future, Our Choice is doing everything it can to ensure a majority of MPs elected support a People's Vote. We're proud to be a part of the People's Vote campaign, that has helped move an idea that was on the fringes of the Brexit debate to the centre. We fully support any party, candidate, or other campaign that is spending every day before December 12th fighting for a People's Vote.

"Three committed campaigners from OFOC's team of eight have decided, with the full support of OFOC, to leave the People's Vote campaign and campaign with For Our Future's Sake in this election. We wish them all the best of luck and hope they have the biggest impact possible."

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