Remain camp

Leave camp

Key figures

Prime Minister David Cameron

David Cameron is head of the UK government and is responsible for the policy and decisions of the Government. He believes remaining inside a reformed EU would make trading easier for UK businesses, while migration within the EU bloc fuels economic growth and helps to pay for public services. On announcing the date of the referendum, he confirmed that government ministers were allowed to campaign and vote as they wish.

Conservative MP and Chancellor George Osborne

As the Government’s chief financial minister, George Osborne is responsible for raising revenue through taxation and borrowing, and for controlling public spending. While an opponent of UK’s membership of the Euro and further European integration, he has said he is passionate about the enlargement of the EU.

Conservative MP and Home Secretary Theresa May

Many believed Theresa May would announce her intention to campaign to leave the EU. However, she  announced she would campaign to remain.

She said although the EU was far from perfect, it was in the national interest to remain a member.


Leader of the Labour Party and Opposition Jeremy Corbyn – Jeremy Corbyn, although initially ambiguous about his position on UK’s membership of the EU, supports remaining in the EU.

He previously said he could join the Leave campaign depending on the deal negotiated by the Prime Minister for UK’s membership of the EU. He later criticised the said deal, noting that it was irrelevant to the debate about whether to remain or leave the EU.

Labour MP and new Mayor of London Sadiq Khan

Newly elected Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has always supported UK’s membership of the EU, believing that the EU is vital for London’s growth, jobs and the success of businesses across the city. Since being elected and London Mayor, he has promised to partner with the Prime Minister to campaign for the UK to remain in the EU, using the influence of his win to ensure Londoners vote to remain.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt – Jeremy Hunt is has been the Health Secretary since 2012. He believes leaving the EU would put the NHS under threats of budget cuts, falling standards and the mass resignation of overseas doctors and nurses. He has called for those campaigning to leave to spell out how they would protect the NHS, which is already under significant financial strain, from economic shock.


Key Figures

Conservative MP and former Mayor of London Boris Johnson

After months of speculation, Boris Johnson eventually announced that he will campaign for Britain to leave the EU. He believes Britain’s sovereignty has been eroded since becoming a member of the EU. A charismatic, nationally-recognisable politician – and one of the few politicians known by his first name – Boris is now the leading voice campaigning to leave the EU.

Conservative MP and Justice Minister Michael Gove

Michael Gove is a close friend of the Prime Minister and has called his decision to campaign to leave the EU “painful”. Michael Gove is a long-standing Eurosceptic, having spent more than 30 years campaigning for the UK to leave the EU.

UKIP leader and Member of the European Parliament for South East England Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage has been the leader of UKIP since 2006 and has been a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for South East England since 1999. He is famous for his controversial speeches in the European Parliament and is a strong critic of the Euro and the EU more generally. He supports the Leave campaign group Grassroots Out on the basis that it was the only group that saw the importance of the immigration issue in the referendum. Although he has said he would work with anyone to campaign to leave the EU, most in the Leave camp are less willing to associate their campaigns with him. He founded UKIP after leaving the Conservative party in 1992 following the signing of the Maastricht Treaty that created the EU.

Conservative MP and former Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith 

Iain Duncan Smith, who famously resigned as Work and Pensions Secretary over the Government’s welfare cuts, is a long-standing Eurosceptic. He has consistently voted against the Government and his party over the Treaty of Maastricht, which formed the EU.

Labour MP Gisela Stuart

Gisela Stuart is a strong opponent of the idea of an “ever closer” union and campaigned strongly for a referendum on the 2004 Treaty to establish an EU constitution (Constitutional Treaty), which was promised in the Labour 2015 election manifesto. The Constitutional Treaty was later replaced with Treaty of Lisbon.

Zac Goldsmith –  Conservative MP and former London Mayoral candidate

Zac Goldsmith is a well-known Eurosceptic and environmentalist who was famously dropped from his role as the Prime Minister’s emissary on climate change for joining a group of Conservative MPs calling for a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. In the run-up to the referendum, he announced that he would campaign to leave the EU. He believes Brussels has too much power vested in it with no system of accountability.

In April, the Electoral Commission announced the official lead campaign groups for each side of the debate.

The In Campaign Ltd (also known as Stronger IN) was appointed to campaign group for “Remain”, while Vote Leave Ltd was appointed the campaign group for “Leave”.

The In Campaign is a cross-party group headed by the former Chairman of Marks and Spencer Lord Rose.

Vote Leave is a cross-party group that grew out of Business for Britain and is chaired by Labour MP Gisela Stuart. Its arguments initially focused on the economic and business case for leaving the EU. As the campaign has progressed, the focus has shifted to controlling immigration, the UK border and obtaining overall power back from the EU.

The campaign groups are entitled to a number of benefits and must abide by the relevant electoral rules. These include:

  1. Spending no more than £7 million on their campaigns.
  2. The entitlement to free campaign broadcasts, a publically funded grant, free mailing and access to meeting rooms.