Brexit group which campaigned under the slogan ‘Take Back Control’

Former London mayor Boris Johnson with the Vote Leave campaign bus (Stefan Rousseau/PA) Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Vote Leave was the officially designated lead campaign for the Brexit side in the 2016 EU referendum.

Fronted by Conservative Boris Johnson, it was a cross-party campaign which also drew backing from Labour MPs like Kate Hoey and then Ukip MP Douglas Carswell.

It saw off competition from Nigel Farage-backed rival to secure “lead campaign” status, giving it access to £600,000 in public funds, a free mailshot, TV broadcasts and the right to spend up to £7 million on the referendum battle.

Vote Leave deployed Mr Johnson and co-convenors Michael Gove from the Tories and Gisela Stuart from Labour in a blizzard of events under the slogan “Take Back Control”.

The campaign’s most high-profile weapon was a bright-red bus carrying the words “We send the EU £350 million a week. Let’s fund our NHS instead”.

The claim was ruled “misleading” by the UK’s official statistician, as it did not take into account Britain’s rebate and therefore significantly overstated the amount actually sent to Brussels.

But it was never retracted by the campaign, and Vote Leave director Dominic Cummings later said they could not have won without it.

Following the referendum, controversy flared over Vote Leave’s use of data firm Aggregate IQ for targeting of online ads, as well as over its large donations to other Brexit campaigns including BeLeave.