Richard Branson is reportedly partially funding a large-scale campaign to reverse the Brexit referendum and keep Britain within the European Union. The Independent revealed an email that highlights how the founder of Virgin Group offered office space and money to help the organisation launch.
Virgin has, however, denied funding any Brexit related campaign or organisation.
Former Labour health minister Alan Milburn is leading the new initiative according to The Guardian; and Freuds, a public relations agency that was founded by Matthew Freud, a close friend of former prime ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron, will handle the strategy and marketing.
The email, written by Milburn, points out the pro-EU campaign's heavy financial, political and corporate backing. "We have been beavering away over the last few months to get a Europe campaign up and running. I'm pleased to say that substantial progress has been made," it mentions.
"I have met the Freuds team several times and we are making good progress. I have been in discussions with an excellent potential CEO to lead the campaign.
"Virgin... are keen to help... Since we last spoke [they] have offered a further £25k, plus bigger office space, help with legal advice and a possible secondment.
"I have held discussions with Stronger In, Chuka Umunna, a new organisation called Common Ground, Bob Geldof and a number of senior politicians across the party spectrum," the memo elucidates. Milburn has not commented on the email.
The group will attempt to campaign for a reverse of the referendum once the British government reveals the exit terms. It plans to use a fall in the UK economy to gather together disparate pro-European groups to back its efforts.
However, a Virgin spokesperson said:
"Since the EU referendum, Virgin has not made any payments to any Brexit campaign or organisation. It is well known that Richard supported the Remain campaign before the referendum, and as a result people involved in all sides of the debate are interested in Virgin's views on Brexit and its impact on business. Virgin is interested in engaging with different organisations to understand the impact Brexit will have on the UK."
A Freuds spokesperson said:
"A spokesman for freuds said: 'freuds works with many different campaigning organisations, on a commercial basis. Over the summer, we undertook a short research project relating to the implications of the vote to leave the EU. We are not currently providing any further support for this campaign."