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Anti-EU Labour Campaign Website Is Secretly Run By Former Gove Adviser

Dominic Cummings, a former Tory director of strategy, is the registered owner of LabourLeave.org, the website for the apparently independent left-wing campaign group urging Labour supporters to vote to leave the EU.

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The campaign for Labour voters to leave the EU has a website that is owned by a former Michael Gove adviser, according to official records.

Labour Leave, which formally launches on Wednesday, has described itself as "a Labour campaign, run by, staffed by, and funded by Labour members".

However, BuzzFeed News has learned its website is registered to Dominic Cummings, a former special adviser to Michael Gove who pushed through some of the former education secretary's most radical reforms and now works for the Vote Leave campaign. The administrative address for Labour Leave's website is also given as Vote Leave's headquarters in central London.

The news raises doubts as to the extent to which Labour Leave is truly independent of the Vote Leave campaign, which hopes to win the official designation as the main anti-EU campaign group ahead of the referendum on whether Britain should remain in the union.

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Although Vote Leave insists it can draw on support from across the political spectrum, many senior staff have strong links to the Conservatives, such as Cummings, who previously served as the party's director of strategy.

Labour Leave general secretary Brendan Chilton told BuzzFeed News the website was registered in Cummings' name because Labour Leave needed outside help to set up the site.

"When it comes to the campaign itself, it'll be Labour reasons to leave, run by Labour people and targeting Labour voters," he said.

Chilton went on to explain the Labour Leave website had originally been registered in the name of another campaigner – Matthew Elliot, the pro-free-market founder of the TaxPayers' Alliance.

"What happened was when we formally launched and established ourselves we had to set them [the website] up," Chilton said. "At the time they were originally set up in Matthew Elliot's name."

When BuzzFeed News called he said the ownership of the domains, which were registered in October 2015, would be transferred from Cummings to major Labour donor John Mills "within the hour".

Mills is a long-term opponent of the EU and is chairman of Vote Leave's board.

The Labour party is formally campaigning to stay in the EU but Chilton said Labour Leave wants to represent the 28% of Labour voters who want to quit the union.

'Jez EU Cant' Things .@jeremycorbyn can't do while we're in the EU by @John_mills_jml and @BrendanChilton

"We believe the EU is anti-democratic and anti-socialist," he said. "A lot of Jeremy Corbyn's own policies cannot be implemented while in the EU and we want to reconnect with millions of Labour voters who want to leave the UK."

The group is backed by Labour MPs including Kate Hoey and Kelvin Hopkins.

Chilton also defended the alliance with former Conservative campaigners: "We feel exactly the same way as those in Labour who will be working with David Cameron to stay in. In this referendum campaign there will be all sorts of alliances."

Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Jim Waterson at jim.waterson@buzzfeed.com.

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