Westminster watchers can breathe a sigh of relief as the threat of pushing the EU referendum date back from June to October has been dropped. That's because Ukip donor Arron Banks and his Leave.EU group have decided not to launch a legal challenge against the Electoral Commission's decision to designate Vote Leave as the lead "leave" campaign for the historic ballot.
"What is clear now is that if we were to pursue a judicial review, according to legal experts, we would win," Banks claimed. "But this is a time to take a step back from the matter, and after consulting with leading campaigners on this issue, including Ukip leader Nigel Farage, we have decided to show the public how this process was stitched up, but not to pursue the judicial review any further.
"It is time to turn our collective guns on the real opponents in this campaign: those who are repeatedly trying to scare the British public into thinking that Britain is too small and insignificant to be an independent nation engaged with the whole world, not just one corner of it. We will be pursuing this campaign with vigour – and we'll have some fun with it along the way."
Farage immediately sought to seek a truce with former rivals Vote Leave, which is backed by Justice Secretary Michael Gove and outgoing Mayor of London Boris Johnson, after the Electoral Commission made its ruling. The decision means Vote Leave will be given a grant of up to £600,000 ($853,020), a £7m spending limit and broadcast slots.
"It is clear that Vote Leave now share my view on this approach, for instance the issue of EU open borders is now a prominent part of their campaign messaging," the Eurosceptic firebrand declared on 13 April.
"Regardless of whichever campaign got the designation, Ukip would always have played a big role in this campaign as the only national party committed to leaving the EU and with a substantial £4m spending limit.
"I have always wanted all on the Leave side to come together and have done my best to try and make this happen. I'll continue to do so in the run-up to the referendum to ensure the Leave side wins."
Farage is also expected to share a platform with pro-Brexit cabinet minister Chris Grayling at a Grassroots Out Movement public meeting in Stoke-on-Trent on 18 April. Elsewhere, Britain Stronger in Europe won the lead 'remain' campaign designation from the Electoral Commission.
The pro-EU group is chaired by former Marks and Spencer boss Lord Stuart Rose and is ran by former Labour parliamentary hopeful Will Straw.
"I'm delighted that the Electoral Commission have recognised that Britain Stronger in Europe has the breadth of support, the unity of purpose and the campaigning organisation to be the official Remain campaign in the upcoming referendum," Straw said.
"Britain is stronger, safer and better off in the EU than we would be out on our own. Being part of the EU Single Market brings growth, investment and jobs to the UK, and keeps prices down.
"If we left, growth would be hit, jobs would be lost, prices would rise and there would be less money to fund public services like the NHS. Leaving is not a risk worth taking."
|29 Mar-4 Apr||YouGov||39%||38%||18%||Online|
|1 Apr–3 Apr||ICM||44%||43%||13%||Online|
|29 Mar–3 Apr||OBR||51%||44%||5%||Telephone|
|29 Mar - 1 Apr||Opinium||39%||42%||18%||Online|