Below are the second group, of 20, of those who have made a significant contribution to the UK triggering Article 50, and so embarking on leaving the E.U. These first two groups of 20 are not ordered but show the time period and breadth of characters who have enabled us to reach this position.
As in the first group not all will be happy to be included, their contributions are no less significant:
Lord Kerr. In some ways Lord Kerr is the ultimate contributor to Article 50. Indeed he is its author! Originally intended for inclusion in the European Constitution the clause was, like much of the document, pasted across into the Lisbon treaty. The rejection of the constitution, and the later backdoor smuggling of it into law, was a landmark for eurosceptics and a constant stick with which to beat the EU institutions. The article itself is pretty dry stuff and was originally intended to deal with a member country reverting to dictator style politics and storming out of the EU without agreement. The fact that it was not never intended to be used, or thought likely that a democratic country would choose to leave, speaks volumes.
Lord (Norman) Tebbit. “The Chingford Polecat” exposed the enormous division and angst within the Conservative party at their conference in 1992. He served as a rallying point for many his blunt and combative style also provided a template for many on the Thatcherite & Eurosceptic side of the discussion. Even in his eighties, from the lords and in print, he remained a conduit to what many see defining days.
Patrick Milford. Another of the economists for Brexit, Milford carries a virtually unique badge of honour. In the 1980’s hundreds of economists wrote to The Times declaring the error of Margaret Thatcher’s economic policy. Milford stood out, virtually alone, in public and declared them wrong. So in the two great economic political debates of our time, Milford has a 100% record against the doomsayers and groupthink. I hope the current government is listening to his advice!
Ian Duncan Smith. From “The Quiet Man” to strident eurosceptic attack force. From his “IDS of March” resignation, through to bashing Lib Dem leader, Tim Farron, at every opportunity. Duncan Smith has turned up the volume, on his strong anti EU position, in equal measure against those determined to undermine the referendum.
David Starkey. Famed for colourful, combative TV documentaries Starkey provided another familiar and trusted face for the Leave case. Willing to debate on all manner of media, and against any style of opponent, Starkey also lead Historians for Britain, again exposing the myth that all serious people were on the Remain side.
Peter Shore. Labour politician, a former Secretary of State for Trade, and eurosceptic whose superb speeches, especially regarding the E.E.C , reenforced the leftwing case for opposition. A staunch patriot who ensured it was not an embarrassing quality to possess. An early advocate of the two-speed solution in his book Separate Ways. The best tribute to Shore was the numbers viewing his speeches and quoting him during the recent referendum despite the fact that he had died fifteen years prior.
Jacob Rees Mogg. The huge popularity of JRM should not be undervalued. His polite, reasoned style, enormous knowledge of history, and tradition, and self-effacing sense of humour, demonstrate that these somewhat old-fashioned qualities are much valued by millions. Resounding proof that posh does not mean, hated, vacuous or mean to those less priviliged.
Anna Soubry. If ever anyone wanted to know why ‘Leavers’ are a bit wary, of those who wished to remain, Soubry is the living embodiment. Condemnatory about voters. Implications of racism and bigotry are followed by claims of voter ignorance. As if this was not enough, her visceral early reactions, in combination with EU history with regard to referenda, made it quite clear that Leavers would have to at least match her in temper, determination and passions. Thus the myth of the angry winner emerged.
Norris & Ross McWhirter. Amongst the original founders of The Freedom Association, the McWhirter twins seem to have a habit of creating long-lasting organisations (Their Guineess Book of records has certainly stood the test of time). The Freedom Association and its offspring, inc. Better Off Out, have campaigned since 1975. The Association is not purely anti EU, its main focus has been to highlight the erosion of civil and individual freedoms. Yet from 1992, through to the referendum, it has focused more on the EU debate.
Nick Clegg. Being trounced in debate twice by Nigel Farage, during 2014, boosted the position and confidence of Eurosceptics. “The Clegger ” has come to represent the stereotype, of the modern Europhile, most despised by Leave supporters. His continued efforts, along with others such as Heseltine & Miliband, to reverse the result, have stimulated an extensive united force against them.
Sir Bill Cash. Despite initially supporting UK membership, Sir Bill has become the patron saint of Eurosceptics, or at least those from a certain generation. His opposition was formed from parliamentary experience and, despite at times being part of a tiny minority, he has sought to challenge and publicise the real consequences of many EU actions. A you tube search of his contributions to the article 50 debate will serve as a strong reminder of the effort and dedication put in over decades.
Theresa May. May has played multiple roles, both in the lead up to the referendum and since becoming Prime Minister. The failure to reduce immigration demonstrated the Leave argument regarding EU incompetence and UK powerlessness. Her speech to the conservative conference in 2014 was both strong and courageous.
As Prime Minster she read the mood of the country well and almost instantly. “Brexit means Brexit” gave her some time and the instant creation of the two Brexit departments, together with the appointment Boris Johnson, the Vote Leave figurehead, as Foreign Secretary, instantly made clear that there would be no betrayal, of what had been decided, would be tolerated. Thus she has earned the right to deliver, the Article 50 letter, on Wednesday March 29th, and will do so.
Lord (Nigel) Lawson. Considering Lord Lawson’s role in the bringing down of Margaret Thatcher, was inextricable from her anti EU attitude, it is a remarkable turnaround to see Lord Lawson spear heading the campaign for a leave vote only 25 years later. Lawson reputation as a successful chancellor ensured that Leave had some financial intellectual heft. On a practical level Lawson stepped in at an important time to chair the board of Vote Leave.
Sir James Dyson. When people are quoted as wanting some straight forward facts from people who are not biased, but successful and respected they could be describing James Dyson. Possibly our most famed business man / inventor also seems relaxed and able when dealing with the media. His simple and strong explanation that the UK would thrive outside the EU resonated with many of those who were looking to be persuaded or reassured in economic terms. As with Anthony Bamford the benefit of having such figures to quote was a massive bonus to Johnson, Gove and others. In addition Dyson’s behaviour up to this week has backed his statements with action.
Chris Grayling. Combined with the tactics of Steve Baker, and the support of Theresa Villiars, Grayling willingness to go to the edge of resignation from the cabinet played a strong part in ensuring that both he and others in the cabinet could campaign on the leave side without having to sacrifice their careers. Grayling’s willingness to resign ensured Cameron would have to solve the issue, and be seen to be fair, or risk a party revolt on a large-scale.
Richard Tice. Co conspirator with Aaron Banks, on the Leave.EU project, Tice played a less public role but was strongly influential. The post referendum think tank Leave Means Leave, which attempts to ensure a full Brexit, continues to generate pressure.
Douglas Carswell. Could be known as Agent Carswell, his efforts to infiltrate and de toxify UKIP, in order to that the Leave was seen to be more liberal open-minded position, may have ultimately failed but the panic caused by his defection certainly played a part in Cameron’s decision to hold a referendum. Carswells decision to back the official Vote Leave organisation may well have assisted in gaining them the official designation and thus again he played a minor but important role. Finally together with Dan Hannan a rough draft of the liberal case to Leave ,and for the future was sketched out, and was widely used in debate.
Aftab Chughtai. Leader and co-founder of Muslims for Britain. The campaign group fought very hard, especially in the West Midlands, and are rightly acknowledged for presenting a different case and producing a Leave victory in Birmingham. It should be noted that evidence suggests an entirely different pattern of voting, amongst immigrant communities, where MfB campaigned.
Andrea Leadsom. Despite being the occasional object of scorn, for a few recent errors, Leadsom should receive huge credit. The Fresh Start group she co-founded ensured that new MP’s were able to align themselves without risking black marks against them. In turn this emboldened many with a less deferential view of their political masters. Her debate appearances were strong and, as a new face to many, her positive and straightforward answers helped to give the Leave Team a fresh and friendly look. Standing up to her boss in government, Amber Rudd, was also widely admired.
John Ashworth. Founder of Fishing for Leave, decades of campaigning and protesting at the decimation of UK fishing industry, and fisheries, by the EU came to a head with the Battle of the Thames with Bob Geldof’s remain fleet! The image of Geldof and others haranguing and flicking the V’s at Farage and the fishermen was one of the strongest of the entire campaign, almost claiming Geldof a position in this 50 list, and for many summed up the entire argument of elites vs normal people.
Theresa Villiers. Understated, but fiercely determined, former Northern Ireland secretary who practised what she preached regarding the EU. Upon being made a minister Villiers quietly removed the EU flag from her department. Having the Northern Ireland Secretary to rebut those who attempted to undermine peace in NI ,during the referendum, was a serious coup for Vote Leave.
Rev. Giles Fraser. The broad coalition that delivered a leave vote included many voices, but a man of god who also writes for The Guardian and gains regular TV exposure is a pretty rare bird. Frasers case for leave was compassionate and based on community and fairness. His often Anti Tory pieces mean he has great credit with the liberal media, gaining access and exposure where others might struggle.
The Top Ten Article 50 contributors is coming soon…….