Leave.EU campaign brings in US voter data and messaging firm Cambridge Analytica

One of the two campaigns working towards a British exit from the European Union has enlisted the support of a US firm whose former successes include helping Nelson Mandela to the South African presidency in 1994.

Time to leave? Cambridge Analytica took to the stage in London today
Time to leave? Cambridge Analytica took to the stage in London today

Leave.EU, one of the two major Brexit campaigns, was launched by UKIP-supporting businessman Arron Banks in the summer, and as PRWeek previously reported is working with US public affairs and referendum specialist Goddard Gunster.

Late last month it also took on board Cambridge Analytica, a Washington DC, New York and London-based firm specialising in data and behaviour-driven work on elections. It is currently working with a number of Republican US presidential candidates.

Cambridge Analytica director of programme development Brittany Kaiser, who will be spending time split between the UK and the US in the coming months, was speaking today (Wednesday) at a press event hosted by Leave.EU.

She later told PRWeek that the firm had been approached by the campaign several months ago, but only started working with it more recently. She said the firm's team of data scientists and analysts, some of whom were based full-time in the UK, would be enabling targeted messaging by "understanding why certain things worry people... probing why people care about a certain issue".

The event was chaired by campaign director Richard Tice, with Kaiser joined on the panel taking questions from the media by Goddard Gunster president Jerry Gunster, as well as Banks and campaign chief executive Liz Bilney.

Like Kaiser, Gunster also emphasised the importance of data in his work, telling the event: "Numbers do not lie, quantifiable data will direct the message and the messengers. I'm going to follow the data."

Daily Telegraph journalist Christopher Hope asked the campaign how much money it had available. PRWeek has previously reported the campaign saying it predicted it would need £20m in total. Banks said: "£2m has been spent to date, and we've got enough to run the campaign as we wish to run it."

Introducing the event, Tice said the campaign had 300,000 registered supporters to date and was about to launch what he said was "the largest registration drive possibly that has ever been seen in this country".

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