A series of hugely influential Facebook advertising campaigns that appear to be separate grassroots movements for a no-deal Brexit are secretly overseen by employees of Sir Lynton Crosby’s lobbying company and a former adviser to Boris Johnson, documents seen by the Guardian reveal.
The mysterious groups, which have names such as Mainstream Network and Britain’s Future, appear to be run independently by members of the public and give no hint that they are connected. But in reality they share an administrator who works for Crosby’s CTF Partners and have spent as much as £1m promoting sophisticated targeted adverts aimed at heaping pressure on individual MPs to vote for a hard Brexit.
Repeated questions have been raised about who is backing at least a dozen high-spending groups that have flooded MPs’ inboxes with calls to reject Theresa May’s deal, but until now they were thought to be independent entities.
But according to the documents, almost all the major pro-Brexit Facebook “grassroots” advertising campaigns in the UK share the same page admins or advertisers. These individuals include employees of CTF Partners and the political director of Boris Johnson’s campaigns to be mayor of London, who has worked closely with Crosby in the past.
Their collective Facebook expenditure swamps the amount spent in the last six months by all the UK’s major political parties and the UK government combined. They have paid for thousands of different targeted Facebook ads encouraging members of the public to write to their local MPs and call for the toughest possible exit from the EU, creating the impression of organic public opposition to Theresa May’s deal. [Continue reading…]