Labour peer and ex-Tony Blair strategist Lord Peter Mandelson has quit the People’s Vote campaign.
Mandelson and former Labour staffers Will Straw and Joe Carberry resigned from the board of Open Britain today, claiming that defacto chairman and PR tycoon Roland Rudd was about to push them out.
Open Britain is one of five founding groups of the campaign.
Mandelson, Straw and Carberry said in their resignation letter, seen by City A.M., that Rudd’s “attempt to use crude corporate manoeuvres” showed a “desire for total control of the…campaign and its data”.
The trio also said Rudd should “step down immediately”.
They said: “Given the sharp divisions that your actions have provoked and the breakdown in relations with other campaigning organisations, we believe you should step down as chair immediately, as you indicated you would, in your note to the board on August 20th.
“It is time to put country before ego and the good of the overall campaign ahead of your personal position.”
Rudd, who is chairman of Open Britain and PR firm Finsbury, has been in open warfare with senior campaign figures and 40 staff members over the past two weeks.
Rudd was accused of a “boardroom coup” after firing the campaign’s director James McGrory and head of communications Tom Baldwin.
Since then, he has seen his newly hired chief executive step down in the face of sexual harassment allegations, endured a vote of no confidence and been accused of stealing data from the campaign.
Staff are still on strike and have rejected new director and former Tory strategist Stuart Hand, after he was appointed on Saturday.
Rudd appointed Hand, after Patrick Heneghan resigned from the role after less than two weeks.
It emerged last week that Heneghan had been accused of propositioning and inappropriately touching young female staff members.
A People’s Vote source told City A.M. yesterday that Hand “was not the one to lead the campaign”.
“The idea that, after installing Heneghan, the answer is to put in another one of Roland Rudd’s people is for the birds,” they said.
Rudd declined to comment.