Arron Banks, Peter Bone
Leave.EU co-founder and GO backer Arron Banks (L) fell out with Conservative MP Peter Bone (R) Getty Images

Infighting has broken out again between pro-Brexit campaigners after it emerged that two Conservative MPs behind a 'leave' group had been paid approximately £41,000 ($58,798) by their own campaign. Tom Pursglove, who co-founded Grassroots Out (GO) with fellow Conservative Peter Bone and Labour MP Kate Hoey, received £19,250 in directors' fees and remuneration for his role as chief executive of GO.

Bone was handed £1,750 in directors' fees and his company PWB Accountants was given £20,000 from GO for its services. The payments were declared by the Conservative MPs in the register of members' interests, and there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by Bone or Pursglove.

But GO backer Arron Banks, who also co-founded Leave.EU, said he was "shocked and disappointed" to learn that Bone and Pursglove had been paid by GO. "Leave.EU has raised £9 million to fight the Brexit cause, £5m personally from Arron Banks, £4m from other donations, including over 5,000 individuals," Banks declared.

"We are extremely shocked and disappointed to discover that two elected individuals have treated the GO Brexit campaign as a business not a cause and would urge them to do the honourable thing and donate the sum directly to a smaller Brexit group."

A spokesman for GO insisted that the group is the "lowest cost referendum campaign" in the country. "Tom Pursglove is chief executive of Grassroots Out Ltd and the company's only direct employee. Running a nationwide referendum campaign requires an extraordinary amount of work and for this Mr Pursglove has been remunerated," the spokesman said.

"Mr Pursglove is paid for doing a similar job as the Chief Executive of Vote Leave or the Executive Director of Britain Stronger in Europe.

"Peter Bone's company, PWB Accountants, provides Grassroots Out Ltd with accountancy services. This is the most cost-effective and efficient way of administering the accounts for Grassroots Out Ltd. Payments to both Mr Pursglove and Mr Bone have been declared in the proper way."

Leave.EU and GO missed out on being designated the lead Brexit campaign for the referendum, when the Electoral Commission ruled in favour of Vote Leave on 13 April. The group, which is chaired by German-born Labour MP Gisela Stuart, now has a spending limit of up to £7m, a grant of up to £600,000 and broadcast slots for campaign videos.

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