02

The battle for Leave was fought, and won, in local communities

Heading into the final few weeks I, and others, could certainly feel the momentum was with us.

We’d weathered the assault by No.10 and No.11, we had letters from FTSE 100 businesses and various foreign leaders, and the polls were still not moving – in either direction.

My own feeling was that there was a different mood outside of London. Managing the network of business people and press people across the country, I spent much of my day on the phone to people across the UK.

Central to the Leave campaign was our network of media trained business people on TV across the country, rather than supportive MPs – something the Remain campaign seemed to rely on.

Research told us that not only did people trust their regional media more than national, but that local businesspeople were more trusted that politicians.

I vividly remember someone from the East Midlands who travelled for hours almost daily for TV interviews, to attend debates, and anything else to support the campaign.

Much of the press seemed to be saying Remain would win, perhaps by a whisker – but win nonetheless. Nigel exclaimed that people around Nottingham were saying the same – yet all were also telling him they themselves would vote Leave.

This was repeated across the country. In Wales, our fantastic press officer said that the mood was strongly shifting toward Leave, except for Cardiff and the south of Wales.

Despite this, and despite predicting a Leave win by 52 to 48, I still wasn’t certain by any means Leave would win.

For me, it was very difficult within the campaign to get a sense of whether we were genuinely ahead.

What we did have is belief that we had an incredible team of people – from our office in Lambeth to the thousands of people out delivering leaflets across the country – and a powerful message.

And in the end I think our approach to things like using local business leaders, ultimately indicated that outside of London, a different debate was had – and our movement was gaining more momentum than those on the Remain realised.

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