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Thursday, 24 January, 2002, 22:19 GMT
Anti-euro campaigner joins Tories
No campaign poster
Publicity has been a key weapon in the No campaign
A leading figure in the campaign to keep Britain out of the single European currency has been appointed head of strategy at the Conservative Party.

Dominic Cummings is stepping down as head of the 'No' campaign to take up the newly-created post.


Dominic Cummings has recognised that Iain Duncan Smith leads the `No' campaign, not Business for Sterling

Britain in Europe
Reporting directly to Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, Mr Cummings will have responsibility for long-term strategic thinking, leading up to the next general election.

In recent weeks, the Conservatives have attempted to shift their focus away from the single currency on to the public services, following the perceived failure of former leader William Hague's keep the pound campaign.

A Tory spokesman said Mr Cummings' appointment did not represent a move back to more familiar territory, insisting Mr Cummings' anti-euro credentials had not been a major factor in his appointment.

'Organ grinder'

For the past year, Mr Cummings, 30, has been campaign director of anti-euro pressure group Business for Sterling.

Dominic Cummings
Cummings: Campaign has done a brilliant job
The group has tried to keep the Conservative Party at arms length as it attempts to build a cross-party coalition against the euro.

But Simon Buckby, campaign director of pro-euro Britain in Europe, said the Tories' appointment of Mr Cummings showed where its true political allegiances lay.

"Dominic Cummings has recognised that Iain Duncan Smith leads the `No' campaign, not Business for Sterling," he said.

"He has left the monkey to join the organ grinder.

"No doubt he also realises that since 1 January the British people have become more aware of the costs of Britain's isolation from the euro, which has given momentum to pro-Europeans.

"He's clearly focusing on life after the referendum."

'Enormous fun'

Mr Cummings joined Business for Sterling as head of research at its launch in 1999.


The stranglehold on opinion in both the Labour party and the Liberal Democrats is breaking and we are making great strides in building our cross-party coalition

Janet Bush, co-director, the 'No' campaign
He previously worked as an investment adviser in Russia, after gaining a first-class history degree at Oxford.

He said: "This campaign has been enormous fun.

"The people here have done a brilliant job for three years.

"Despite being outgunned and outnumbered, they've changed the whole terms of the euro debate, knocked the CBI and Britain in Europe out of the campaign, and made it unlikely that Blair will risk a referendum."

Co-director of the No campaign Janet Bush said: "We are very sorry to see Dominic go but enormously reassured that someone who has always insisted that the euro must be fought from a cross-party platform is to have such an important role in the Conservative Party.

"The stranglehold on opinion in both the Labour party and the Liberal Democrats is breaking and we are making great strides in building our cross-party coalition."

See also:

23 Jan 02 | UK Politics
Hewitt pushes euro as exports dip
22 Jan 02 | UK Politics
Labour euro split emerges
22 Jan 02 | Business
Official: 'Leave pound alone'
21 Jan 02 | Business
Budget worries at euro talks
20 Jan 02 | UK Politics
Tory chief: Euro tests are 'rubbish'
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