Matthew Elliott

🔥 💰🇷🇺Elliott was chief executive of Vote Leave, the “official” Leave Campaign, and is also the co-founder of the right-wing TaxPayers’ Alliance. He was campaign director for the NOtoAV campaign in 2011, which successfully derailed attempts to introduce a fairer voting system for UK elections.

As Conservative governments imposed austerity measures that have severely cut public services, Elliott and the TaxPayers’ Alliance have continually pushed for tax cuts – a common theme among leading Brexiters. He has been described by the BBC as “one of the most effective lobbyists at Westminster”.

Elliott is also a senior fellow of the Legatum Institute – the think-tank funded by the secretive Dubai-based hedge-fund billionaire Christopher Chandler. Legatum has been highly influential among Brexiters, particularly in the Conservative Party, and is believed to have been involved in drafting a letter to Theresa May from Boris Johnson and Michael Gove that urged May to push for a “hard” Brexit. It has been seen as promoting the sort of “disaster capitalism” through which Chandler made a very large amount of money in Russia in the 1990s.

Elliott was a central member of Conservative Friends of Russia and in 2012 went on a 10-day trip to Moscow with the group, paid for by the Russian government. Conservative Friends of Russia is reported to have been used by Russia as a means to influence Conservative politicians, and its key contact at the Russian Embassy in London was Sergey Nalobin, later expelled from Britain as a suspected spy. Nalobin is known to have established a personal relationship with Elliott and was the first to congratulate him on Twitter when Elliott announced his engagement in January 2014.

Elliott has often claimed to be acting in the best interests of poor people, for instance when lobbying against the “green” taxes that help combat climate change. He has written: “Green taxes are revenue-raising measures designed to extract more money from ordinary families and British businesses.”

Elliott has also spoken at events organised by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Unconventional Oil and Gas, used by fracking and fossil fuel companies to gain access to MPs and influence government policy.

In 2017 the Charity Commission said it had uncovered matters of “regulatory concern” at the Politics and Economics Research Trust (PERT), set up by Elliott in 2006. Elliot was asked to repay a £50,000 charitable grant after he was found to have used it to produce an anti-EU dossier that was not in keeping with the charity’s declared educational aims.

An earlier Charity Commission enquiry in 2011 had warned PERT that its reputation risked being damaged if it did not properly manage its relationship with another of Elliott’s campaign groups, the TaxPayers’ Alliance.

In November 2017, the Electoral Commission reopened its investigation into Vote Leave’s payments of £625,000 to 23-year-old fashion student Darren Grimes, who had gone on to spend large sums with social media marketing firm Aggregate IQ (closely linked to Cambridge Analytica). Concerns had been raised that this donation may have been used to breach Vote Leave’s limit on referendum spending.

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