25 May 2016

Gisela Stuart: Brexit’s unexpected figurehead

Tonight the most prominent woman in the referendum campaign tells us of her conversion. It was Giscard what did it.

Gisela Stuart, Labour MP, former poster girl for Tony Blair’s pro-European credentials, was despatched to help the former French President draft a new constitution for Europe. Just as what she thought was agreed was being signed off, former President Giscard d’Estaing slapped something else on the table.

The campaign is about to move into the purdah phase when the government can’t get involved. The Prime Minister doesn’t get the ministerial limo taking him to B and Q headquarters to read a speech written by government officials. But there will be a limo and there will be a speech, they’ll just be paid for by the campaign. The backdrop will look similar though there could be campaign rather than government branding.

The Leave campaign is convinced there’s one more data salvo still to be blasted out of the government machine before the midnight Thursday night shut down. Given there are ONS statistics for net migration due out tomorrow morning I wonder if we’ll get the last barrage in time for the main evening bulletins?

I’ve picked up some discomfort in the Leave camp about the domination of immigration in a campaign which looked down its nose one Leave.eu and said it would not let the issue crowd out other themes. There’s the promise of more economic arguments to come from Vote Leave but the Remain camp are saying that a campaign that boasted loft ideals when it started has been “forced to pull the emergency cord” earlier than anyone could’ve thought.

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