Everyone involved in the new Brexit thinktank who hasn’t realised we’ve already left the EU

Kate Plummer
Wednesday 24 March 2021 16:05
Politics
(PA)

If you thought Brexit was ostensibly “done”, then, well, you’d be right. But this hasn’t halted a new think-tank – staffed in part by redundant Brexit Party politicians – from establishing itself.

The Foundation for Independence says it highlights the benefits of leaving the EU and holds the government to account on Brexit policy. It also campaigns for free trade with the EU – something that Britain had de facto from its EU membership – and stands ready to oppose any potential “rejoin” campaign.

The group says it is not party political and will be a voice for business. Indeed, businesses can pay £100 a year to join the group’s associated Independent Business Network.

But who is behind it?

Brendan Chilton

Brendan Chilton is the co-founder and CEO of the group. He is also a Labour councillor in Ashford and is involved in a number of other think tanks. He was also the head of the Labour Leave campaign during the EU referendum.

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John Longworth

John Longworth, former Brexit Party MEP, is the co-founder and chairman of the group. He formerly chaired the Leave Means Leave campaign.

John Mills

Another John is another co-founder – and also president – of the foundation. He founded Labour Leave and chaired Vote Leave in 2016. Aside from this, he founded JML – the well-known shopping channel retailer - and has written a number of books about politics and economics.

Daniel Hodson

Daniel Hodson is a Vote Leave veteran and a businessman, currently working as the Chairman of City for Britain – yet another Brexit supporting thinktank.

Lance Forman

Another former MEP, Forman is the vice chairman of the foundation. He also owns a London-based smoked salmon business, Forman and Son.

Andrea Jenkyns

According to the MP’s register of financial interests ,Andrea Jenkyns, Conservative MP for Morley and Outwood, Yorkshire, has been an unpaid member of the political advisory board of the group since March this year.

As the Deputy Chair of the Eurosceptic European Research Group (ERG) and former member of a Brexit select committee, this is an unsurprising appointment.

Graham Stringer

Graham Stringer – who, busily, is the director of another Brexit thinktank (the Centre for Brexit Policy), the trustee of the climate change-denying Global Warming Policy Foundation, and serves as a Labour MP for Blackley and Broughton – also advises the group.

David Jones

David Jones is another Tory MP advising the foundation. He represents the Welsh constituency Clwyd West and was also involved in the Leave Means Leave campaign and the ERG and has previously been criticised for voting against same-sex marriage.

Jim Sillars

Jim Sillars is the former deputy leader of the Scottish National Party. Prior to this, he was a Labour Party MP. He is another member of the group’s political advisory board.

Suzanne Evans

Former BBC journalist turned UKIP councillor Suzanne Evans is the final advisor to make up the board. Evans rose to prominence in UKIP but left after English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson was admitted as a member. Now, she is also the founder of a medical charity and a director of a public affairs consultancy.

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