European Research Group

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Eurosceptic political think-tank. The name is believed to relate to the two Brexit ministries, the DExEU and the DfIT.
Patrick Kidd commented that it "is poorly named. It does little research, hates the EU and isn’t much of a group".ref The ERG is generally accepted to be a "party within a party".

Read Gove’s wife Sarah Vine’s Daily Mail column to see if any clues can be picked up: The Daily Mail 1 + The Daily Mail 2

<tdstyle="width:28%">Website: (redirects to a login page)
Registrant:Ms Edith Karnitsch, t/a TerraNetwork WhoIs
Date registered:Sept.02.2016 (last updated Aug.14.2017)
Address:Room 3-37, 1 Parliament Street, London SW1A 0AA
Registrant type:Other: Clubs, associations,...
Mrs Edith Karnitsch:Company Check
WhatsApp:ERG DExEU/DIT Suppt Group
Mapped on LittleSis:LittleSis
LittleSis search:LittleSis search

This has now vanished; may be a red herring. Linked from here
The European Research Group is listed as a client on the Cushman Wakefield website, which says: "research is seen as integral to helping our clients understand market trends and using our market intelligence and strategic advice to add value to their activities. We pride ourselves on being renowned as an industry knowledge leader and we maintain one of the most comprehensive and accurate databases of global property data, tracking over 1,000 markets in Europe alone." Re-found on

© Tolga Akmen

In its initial incarnation, the ERG was founded by Tory backbencher Sir Michael Spicer in 1994, with Daniel Hannan running its activities. Believing in an enlarged EU of free-trading independent nation states, it helped bring together like-minded parliamentarians from across the continent, acting as a focus for eurosceptics of all hues in the late 1990s and early 2000s – rather like the Anti-Maastricht Alliance did for campaigners in the early 1990s under the late Lionel Bell – and organising the Congress for Democracy. David Heathcoat-Amory was Chairman while a delegate to the Convention on the Future of Europe, resulting in the ERG’s Matthew Glanville operating as an important part of his tiny support team opposing the EU Constitution. In more recent years, MEP-turned-MP Chris Heaton-Harris kept the ERG flag flying and then in the wake of the 2016 referendum victory, Steve Baker took over as Chairman, ably aided behind the scenes by Christopher Howarth and Christopher Montgomery, bringing together Conservative and DUP MPs supporting the Government in delivering Brexit.

Also see this article:

Peter Lilley is a supporter of the European Research Group (ERG). Led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, the ERG is lobbying for a hard Brexit and has been described by Buzzfeed as “an aggressive, disciplined, and highly organised parliamentary and media operation”. Former Brexit minister, Steve Baker, is a past chair of the group. ref


<tdstyle="width:22%">Suella Fernandes
Chairman / Vice Chairman, Jun.2017
Michael TomlinsonDeputy Chairman, off to the DfiD, Jun.2017, Mark Francois took his place.
Steve BakerStepped down as Chairman in Jun.2017
Craig MacKinlayVice-Chair
John Penrosex
Jacob Rees-Moggx
Jon MoynihanVote Leave Director ??
Christopher HowarthAssistant to David Nuttall / Researcher for the ERG
Chris Heaton-HarrisChairman, 2010-2015 [1]


  1. Bim Afolami [2] (2017)
  2. Lucy Allan [3]
  3. David Amess [3]
  4. Richard Bacon [3]
  5. Kemi Badenoch [4] [3]
  6. Steve Baker [5] [2] (2010-16) [6], [7]
  7. Guto Bebb [2] (2011–15)
  8. Sir Henry Bellingham [3]
  9. Bob Blackman [3]
  10. Lord David Blencathra [5]
  11. Peter Bone [3]
  12. Andrew Bridgen [5] [2] (2010-17), [3]
  13. David Burrowes [5]
  14. David Campbell Bannerman [5]
  15. Douglas Carswell [5] [2] (2013-14)
  16. Sir William Cash [5] [3]
  17. Christopher Chope [5] [2] (2013-15)
  18. Colin Clark [3]
  19. Simon Clarke [3]
  20. James Cleverly [5]
  21. Therese Coffey [2] (2010)
  22. Robert Courts [2] (2017)
  23. David TC Davies [3]
  24. Philip Davies [5] [3]
  25. David Davis [2] (2012-15)
  26. Jonathan Djanogly [2] (2013-16)
  27. Leo Docherty [3]
  28. Nigel Dodds [5]
  29. Jeffrey Donaldson [5]
  30. Nadine Dorries [5] [4] [3]
  31. Steve Double [5]
  32. Jackie Doyle-Price [2] (2010-14)
  33. Richard Drax [3]
  34. James Duddridge [5] [2] (2016-17), [3]
  35. Charles Elphicke [2] (2012-17), [3]
  36. George Eustice
  37. Nigel Evans [3]
  38. Michael Fabricant [5]
  39. Suella Fernandes [5] [5] [2] (2016)
  40. Mark Field [2] (2012-13)
  41. Liam Fox [2] (2012-15)
  42. Mark Francois [2] (2011-17), [3]
  43. Marcus Fysh [5] [3]
  44. David Gauke [2] (2011-16)
  45. James Gray [3]
  46. Michael Gove [5] [2] (2016-17)
  47. James Gray [5]
  48. Chris Grayling [2] (2016)
  49. Chris Green [3]
  50. John Hayes [3]
  51. Chris Heaton-Harris [1] [2] (2010-16)
  52. Gordon Henderson [5] [3]
  53. Philip Hollobone [5] [3]
  54. Adam Holloway [3]
  55. Gerald Howarth [5] [2] (2010-17)
  56. Eddie Hughes [3]
  57. Alister Jack [3]
  58. Stewart Jackson [2] 2012-16)
  59. Sajid Javid [2] (2013-16)
  60. Bernard Jenkin [5] [6] [2] (2010-16), [3]
  61. Andrea Jenkyns [3]
  62. David Jones [3]
  63. Daniel Kawczynski[3]
  64. Stephen Kerr [3]
  65. Eleanor Laing [2] (2013)
  66. Pauline Latham [2] (2014-17) [3]
  67. Andrea Leadsom [2] (2011-16)
  68. Sir Edward Leigh [5]
  69. Andrew Lewer [3]
  70. Brandon Lewis [2] (2010)
  71. Julian Lewis [3]
  72. Peter Lilley [5] [2] (2014-16)
  73. Julia Lopez [3]
  74. Jack Lopresti [3]
  75. Jonathan Lord [5]
  76. Tim Loughton [5] [2] (2015,2017) [3]
  77. Kit Malthouse [2] (2017)
  78. Scott Mann [5]
  79. Craig Mackinlay [5] [5] [2] (2016-17), [3]
  80. Rachael Maclean [3]
  81. Karl McCartney [5]
  82. Stephen McPartland [2] (2013-16)
  83. Nigel Mills [5] [2] (2017) [3]
  84. Penny Mordaunt [2] (2011-16)
  85. James Morris [5] [2] (2010)
  86. Anne Marie Morris [3]
  87. David Nuttall [5] [2] (2012-16)
  88. Matthew Offord [5] [3]
  89. Priti Patel [3]
  90. Owen Paterson [5] [6] [2] (2016), [3]
  91. John Penrose [5] [5] [3]
  92. Chris Pincher [2] (2010-15)
  93. Dominic Raab [5]
  94. John Redwood [6] [5] [3]
  95. Jacob Rees-Mogg [5] [2] (2010-16), [3]
  96. Laurence Robertson [5]
  97. Andrew Rosindell [3]
  98. Lee Rowley [3]
  99. David Ruffley [2] (2014)
  100. Alec Shelbrooke [2] (2010-11)
  101. Paul Scully [5]
  102. Mark Simmonds [2] (2012)
  103. Henry Smith [5] [2] (2010-14), [3]
  104. Iain Duncan Smith [5] [2] (2017), [3]
  105. Bob Stewart [3]
  106. Rishi Sunak [8]
  107. Sir Desmond Swayne [5] [2] (2017), [3]
  108. Derek Thomas [3]
  109. Michael Tomlinson [5] [2] (2016), [3]
  110. Craig Tracey [5]
  111. Anne-Marie Trevelyan [3]
  112. Martin Vickers [5] [2] (2011-12,2017), [3]
  113. Theresa Villiers [5]
  114. David Warburton [2] (2016)
  115. John Whittingdale [5]
  116. Bill Wiggin [5] [3]
  117. Mike J Wood [2] (2015,2017)
  118. William Wragg [5] [3]

Other Possible Suspects

  1. Dominic Cummings
  2. Alan Duncan
  3. Matthew Elliott
  4. William Hague
  5. Boris Johnson
  6. Tim Montgomerie
  7. Mark Reckless
  8. Amber Rudd



© Mark Kerrison
  • Dec.13.2018: How the Brexiteer plotters were hamstrung by lies, egos and lack of a plan. The seeds of the attempted coup were sown three months to the day before it came to fruition. Late on Sept.11, a group of about 50 Tory MPs from the ERG gathered in the Thatcher Room in parliament. Something was not quite right, however. Senior Brexiteers — the ones the public might have heard of — were letting it be known that they had not been there. Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the ERG, Boris Johnson, David Davis, Iain Duncan Smith, Owen Paterson, the self-styled “grown-ups of the Brexiteer cause”, let it be known they were not involved. What followed over the next three months was a battle between two factions in the ERG: one that wanted Mrs May removed immediately, and one more cautious about both being seen to wield the knife and being saddled with clearing up the Brexit mess. Central to the confusion was Steve Baker... claimed that there were 80 Tory MPs ready to oppose Chequers, then backtracked. A plan to publish an alternative to Chequers was delayed. ... Matt Chorley, Oliver Wright, Henry Zeffman, Francis Elliott, The Times.
  • Dec.13.2018: Brexiteers hunker down for trench warfare as Theresa May survives confidence vote. Brexiteers vowed to continue in their “trench warfare” to force Theresa May from office after more than a third of her MPs declared they had no confidence in her leadership. Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the ERG, said the count was a “terrible result for the prime minister”, adding: “The prime minister must realise that on all constitutional norms she ought to go and see the Queen urgently. She clearly doesn’t have the confidence of the Commons. She should make way for someone who does.” Martin Vickers, MP for Cleethorpes, described Mrs May as a lame duck prime minister, but some Brexiteers turned on the ERG, attacking the timing and organisation of the vote. The ERG “f***ed it up”, according to one senior Brexiteer. Messages leaked from a Whatsapp group showed that Steve Baker, a leading member of the ERG, was praised by campaigners last night as a “superstar” and a “hero”. Kate Devlin, Sam Coates, Henry Zeffman, The Guardian.
  • Nov.21.2018: Don’t underestimate Rees-Mogg’s ‘phantom army’ of Brexit fanatics. The no-confidence vote might not have come off, but this small group of Tory Eurosceptics will stoop low to get what they want. No one, then, should allow the recent failure of Messrs Rees-Mogg and Baker to muster the famous 48 letters required to trigger a no-confidence vote in May to fool them into thinking that Conservative Euro-fanatics are and always have been merely a phantom army. With the Tory press (and indeed ConHome) on their side, with Ukip waiting in the wings, with constituency associations and even their less fanatical parliamentary colleagues growing ever more hostile to the EU, and – most importantly – with the maths as tight as it’s often been, they haven’t really needed to be. And that remains as true right now as it has been in the past. Tim Bale, The Guardian.
  • Oct.07.2018: Brexiteers threaten to sabotage the budget. Leading members of the hardline European Research Group (ERG) last night vowed to vote down government legislation after it was claimed the prime minister will use Labour MPs to push her plan through the Commons. Brexiteers have issued a last-ditch threat to vote down the budget and destroy the government unless Theresa May takes a tougher line with Brussels — amid signs that she is on course to secure a deal with the European Union. Bernard Jenkin, a veteran Eurosceptic, told a WhatsApp group of Tory MPs yesterday that it would lead to members refusing to back No 10 in other key votes. Nadine Dorries condemned the “dirty deal” and Simon Clarke MP for Middlesbrough South, said it would cost the Tories marginal seats in the north of England and the Midlands at the next election. The row came as No 10 banned Penny Mordaunt, the international development secretary, from briefing extracts of a speech she is to make about Brexit on Tuesday because she did not plan to praise May’s current Chequers plan for Brexit. It has also emerged that cabinet ministers have hatched a “Mourinho plot” to oust May next spring, arguing that she is as unpopular and defensive-minded as the embattled Manchester United manager. more Tim Shipman, The Times.
  • Sept.15.2018: ‘Second’ bank account: MPs demand probe into Rees-Mogg’s Brexit group. Cross-party demands for an urgent investigation into the financial affairs of the European Research Group follow openDemocracy’s investigation. The ERG, chaired by Rees-Mogg, but still effectively run by former Brexit minister Steve Baker, is thought to number close to 80 Tory MPs. It has been regularly dubbed a party within a party. James Cusick, openDemocracy.
  • Sept.13.2018: Parliament watchdog probes Rees-Mogg’s hard Brexit lobby group over “other sources of funding”. Emails released by UK parliamentary standards watchdog Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) reveal a ‘second’ bank account held by the ERG, as they pressure May to abandon Chequers. In June, IPSA wrote to the ERG seeking clarification about how it uses taxpayer money – and other unknown “sources of funding”. IPSA was reacting to concerns about public money being misused to support the ERG’s high-profile political campaign for a hard-line, uncompromised Brexit. The ERG has received ‘research funds’ (paid out of MPs’ expense claims, and therefore funded by the taxpayer) from the offices of key current and former cabinet ministers such as Michael Gove, Sajid Javid, Andrea Leadsom, Penny Mordaunt, Chris Grayling, David Gauke and David Davis. The group uses one bank account to lodge the funds received from IPSA for parliamentary ‘research’ services. However in June this year the ERG confirmed to IPSA that it holds a second bank account for paying for drinks, MPs’ breakfasts and other expenses. The ERG maintains that it does not "do political campaigning". Under current parliamentary funding rules, MPs must not use IPSA funding for party political purposes. CTF Partners, the lobbying company headed by Lynton Crosby, were reported by The Sunday Times to be working with the ERG to derail Theresa May’s proposed deal with the EU worked out at Chequers in July. James Cusick, Jenna Corderoy, Peter Geoghegan, openDemocracy.
  • Sept.12.2018: The Guardian view on the European Research Group: not serious, still dangerous. Jacob Rees-Mogg and friends have had ample time to come up with credible proposals. Instead they produce flimsy falsehoods designed to wreck the prime minister’s pursuit of a Brexit deal. MPs allied to the ERG have been parading around Westminster in what they imagine to be intellectual finery. On Monday, they sported confidence that within 15 years of crashing out of the EU without a deal, the UK would be a £trillion better off than if it had stayed in the club - from a report by Economists For Free Trade. Editorial, The Guardian.
  • Jul.11.2018: Hardline Brexiters demand amendments to trade bill. Angry hardline Brexiters have submitted four amendments to the govt’s trade bill, arguing that Theresa May] has broken their trust with the soft Brexit negotiating plan she unveiled at Chequers. The ERG fronted by Jacob Rees Mogg wants MPs to kill off May’s facilitated customs arrangement in an amendment to Monday’s bill, which calls for the UK to refuse to collect duties for the EU unless member states do likewise. A second amendment, backed by the DUP and Labour’s Kate Hoey, would force the govt to agree in law to a commitment to never having a border in the Irish sea, which would kill off an EU proposal allowing Northern Ireland to remain in the customs union. Hard Brexiters have pledged to mount a campaign of guerrilla warfare against May’s government in an attempt to disrupt the soft Brexit proposal unveiled at Chequers, in which she proposed that the UK would share a “common rule book” of standards on food and goods after Brexit. In February, 62 Tory MPs from the ERG signed a letter demanding that the UK achieves full regulatory autonomy after Brexit. To have any chance of passing the amendments, the group would need the support of Labour and other opposition parties. Dan Sabbagh, The Guardian.
  • Jul.09.2018: They know May’s plan won’t survive a first brush with the EU. The endgame is to crash out, and a neo-Thatcherite revolution. ... Why did any of the Brexiters pretend to accept this plan? Because they too know that it won’t survive a first brush with the EU. So what’s their endgame? The same as ever: no deal, crash out, walk away. In their Brexlandia, there is only clean-break purity. Patrick Minford CBE, former Thatcher adviser and leader of Economists for Brexit, is willing to spell out to me what Brexit politicians dare not. Their goal is no tariffs, no barriers, no regulations, open free trade with the world. That, he claims, cuts 20% off food prices in tariffs and roughly the same again in removing all regulatory barriers. What of food quality? As long as it’s labelled, let the consumer decide. What of farmers bankrupted by cheap imports? Big farmers will do more efficient biotech farming (GM, etc); small inefficient farmers will go to the wall or be paid to protect the environment. What of manufacturing, facing a tidal wave of cheap, imported, unregulated goods? That’s an insignificant 10% of our economy, so let cheaper countries do the “metal bashing”, as we import cheaper cars: we will do high-value intellectual work. And what of all those “metal-bashing” jobs? Here he uses a favourite phrase: the “reallocation of labour”, just like all those “reallocations” of the 1980s on which he advised Thatcher, when unproductive mines, steel works and shipyards closed. Look, he says, over those years most of the 35% employed in manufacturing have been “reallocated”, with a growth in city financiers, consultants and all other services. But what of the people and the places destroyed in the process? Yes, he admits, the 1980s was a “big shock”, but it rid us of “hopelessly uncompetitive” industries. That’s what unilateral open free trade would do again, clearing out overprotection from global competition with, he claims, a huge economic boost. Short-term pain means long-term gain: a second coming of Thatcher’s 1980s. That’s the vision that dare not speak its name among Brexiteer MPs – for good reason. What irony that “metal bashing” people and places that voted Brexit would be the big losers from the true Brexiteer vision. The true heart of Brexit is a vision that is the precise opposite of the one they missold in the referendum. This is what their freedom and sovereignty means: no protections, only an unfettered market. The Tory resigners want to turn their great referendum hoax into a crash-out, no deal, close to the dystopian vision cherished by Economists for Brexit. Polly Toynbee, The Guardian.
  • Jan.19.2018: The history of the Tories' influential European Research Group. Described last September by its then-chair Suella Fernandes as "a group of MPs who are supporting the government to deliver a Brexit which works for everybody", the European Research Group (ERG) has been around for years, but who are they and why don't we know more about them? Denis Doherty, BBC News.


  • Sept.22.2017: Pete North on Twitter Twitter
  • 8. As I understand it, the money came from (Lord) Greville Howard - he who is bankrolling the European Research group.
  • 9. He's been funding the ultras for a long time now - to the point you and I would call corruption.
  • Sept.07.2017: The Tory MPs using taxpayers’ cash to fund a secretive hard-Brexit group. Taxpayers’ money is being used to fund an influential group of hard-line pro-Brexit Conservative MPs who are increasingly operating as a “party-within-a-party”. Despite expenses rules stating that MPs cannot claim for research or work “done for, or on behalf of, a political party”, the European Research Group has received over £250,000 from MPs who claimed the public cash through their official expenses. Forty MPs have paid money to the ERG and claimed it back as ‘research’ over the period covering the David Cameron and Theresa May govts. These include current ministers and members of May’s cabinet. The true number could be higher. Other MPs regarded as ERG members have claimed expenses for “research services” on EU issues without specifying the ERG. According to a Whitehall analyst who reviewed MPs’ expense statements for OpenDemocracy, the amount of taxpayers’ money received by the ERG is likely to be well above the officially listed £250,000. According to its current chair, MP Suella Fernandes, the ERG exists to ensure that Brexit will not be rendered "meaningless". The group, regarded as an 80-strong private Tory caucus, wants Britain out of the EU single market and customs union. OpenDemocracy repeatedly requested an official list of members of the ERG from Suella Fernandes. Although her office insisted the list was "not a state secret" it would not reveal any details of the group … and said all matters relating to the group had to go through Christopher Howarth. OpenDemocracy repeatedly contacted both Mr Howarth and Ms Fernandes asking who employed Howarth where his office in the Palace of Westminster was, what research he had carried out, and how much he was being paid by the ERG. The questions were acknowledged but no information was received. ERG's previous head, Steve Baker, now a minister in the Department for Exiting the EU, said his group aimed to end EU's "despotism" and give Britain back its borders. Tory MPs who (anonymously) spoke to openDemocracy described ERG members as engaged in "their own whipping operation", using a closely-guarded WhatsApp messaging network, and sticking rigidly to the ERG's agreed policy-line on any matters relating to Brexit. One MP said "Their private newsletter is not a subject for discussion, it is a directive to be obeyed". No MP contradicted the notion of the ERG as a party-within-a-party, with many saying it had been transformed under Baker's command. Members: Liam Fox, Andrea Leadsom, Jacob Rees-Mogg, {more...} openDemocracy, James Cusick, Adam Ramsay, Crina Boros
  • Mar.10.2017: Twitter photo of Private Eye Magazine, Issue No. 1439, Mar.10 – 23.2017. It appears that MPs finance the ERG by claiming around £2,000 in staff expenses, which is then paid as a subscription to the group. By checking the latest expense claims, it is apparent that among the ERG’s members are Sajid Javid, Andrea Leadsom, Chris Grayling, Penny Mordaunt. David Davis and Liam Fox were members in 2015, but have not renewed their subscriptions. It would appear that these free-marketeer MPs have, by funding the group through expenses, created a taxpayer-funded pro-Brexit group. But is that allowed? The rules on expenses say "members of parliament must not exploit the system… to confer an undue advantage on a..." {Note to me: I tweeted the bloke and asked for the title + date of the paper: he says it’s Private Eye, Mar.10.2017} Twitter, @Kurako76
  • Feb.17.2017: Assessing the talent in the House of Commons (on both sides of the Brexit debate). ERG's goal is a hard, clean Brexit, with few if any leaving payments to the Brussels kitty and "maximum flexibility to work with the rest of the world". The New European, Michael White

Working Area


Matthew Paris wrote "I don’t think he sees himself in politics to give effect to what the public thinks, but to what the public ought to think, which is quite different".

Tory MPs Bill Cash and John Redwood spent decades attacking the constitutional and economic aspects of the EU, but it was Daniel Hannan who successfully "sold" Brexit to the people.

  • Dec.2017: Six of Theresa May's cabinet are paid up "members" of secret group demanding a total break from the EU: David Davis, Michael Gove, Penny Mordaunt, David Gauke, Sajid Javid, Andrea Leadsom, Chris Grayling.ref name="od-2017.12.22" "Inane policies and promoting Brextremism./ref name="aav-2017.12.27"
  • Sept.2017: The ERG signed a Change Britain initiative letter, urging the govt to stay on track for a hard Brexit.ref name="guard-2017.09.09"
  • Jul.2017: The news has a twist. The ERG officers are to stay in post: they will lead a group that has been a backbench force from within the Ministerial ranks. There are two ways of looking at this development: (1) the Brexiteers are taking over the govt; or (2) the govt are taking over the Brexiteers. We leave it to our readers to make a judgement.ref name"ch-2017.07.29"
  • Jul.2017: 100+ members. Suella Fernandes now Chairman, successor to Steve Baker. Brexit will be meaningless if we don't leave the SM and the CU. ref name="conhome-2017.07.06"
  • Jun.2017: The anti-Brexit outcry was depressing some Leavers; they cheered up no end when Steve Baker was appointed to the Department for Exiting the EU.ref name="ji-207.06.14"
  • Feb.2017: Ministers say that the direction of government is being shaped by the ERG.ref name="times-2017.02.11", ref name="indy-2017.02.05"
  • Feb.2017: The ERG's power to direct govt policy seems to be increasing; one member said: "We can get anything we want." ref name="express-2017.02.11"
  • Jan.2017: Brexit Secretary David Davis told a private meeting with the Legatum Institute think tank that "nothing has been ruled out" with the Customs Union. The ERG is up in arms; they only want a hard Brexit.[8]
  • Jan.2017: Steve Baker publishes an open letter to Theresa May "in anticipation" of her making it clear we are leaving the Customs Union and the Single Market. It's a threat.ref name="sb-2017.01.06"
  • Dec.19.2016: Steve Baker accepted a £6,500 donation from the Constitutional Research Council on behalf of the ERG (same outfit that channeled "dark money" to the DUP), to fund hospitality for ERG members and their staff at an event.ref name="parl-2016.12.19" In a brief reply, Christopher Howarth described the ERG link to the CRC as “amusing but entirely fanciful”. He repeated the explanation that the £6,500 had been from a "permissible donor".ref name="od-2017.09.07"
  • Nov.26.2016: Hostility against Brexit continued unabated; calls for a second referendum are hard. Blair announced a new pro-European movement, headed by Alan Milburn. The ERG made strident demands. The country is split. The ERG is now led by John Whittingdale, Iain Duncan Smith, Michael Gove, Peter Lilley and John Redwood. ref name="soc-2016.11.26"
  • Nov.25.2016: The ERG wrote to Donald Tusk, accusing Commisioner Barnier of preventing negotiations, basically attempting to grab the ball from Theresa May and push their own agenda. (Letter downloaded, see /Documents/2016.11.25-ERG-Letter-to-Donald-Tusk-1.pdf) ref name="tusk-2016.11.25" Tusk rebuffed the claims as being "unfounded in reality".ref name="tusk-2016.11.29"
  • Nov.2016: Michael Tomlinson appointed deputy chairman of the relaunched European Research Group.ref name="mt-201.11.19"
  • Nov.2016: Calls for a "hard Brexit" from the ERG; [[Michael Gove], Iain Duncan Smith, Theresa Villiers, Suella Fernandes. The vote to Leave started to be translated as a "hard Brexit"; this is when we started hearing about "the Will of the People". ref name="polhome-2016.11.20"
  • Nov.2016: ERG relaunched to keep up pressure on the govt and force its hand. Steve Baker is Chairman. The Brexit Alliance think tank stated that more than half of Labour constituencies backed Brexit in the EU Referendum. Dragon Advisory founding partner and member of Economists for Brexit, Charlie Methven, said the MPs' call was "encouraging", as "far from being an economic benefit, the Single Market is an old-fashioned protectionist Customs Area". 60 Tory MPs plus 11 Labour, DUP and UKIP. Boris Johnson, Liam Fox, David Davis (The Three Brexiteers), Michael Gove, Ian Duncan Smith, John Whittingdale, Theresa Villiers, Owen Patterson, Peter Lilley, John Redwood, Steve Baker chairman. ref name="tgraph-2016.11.19"
  • Sept.2016: A Cabinet minister said "None of these people are builders, they are destroyers, they are frightening people. They are like arsonists." Several Conservative MPs compared them to "Trots": "They are grammar-school imperialists", on a quest to reassert what they regard as Britain’s lost place in the world.
  • Jun.2016: The EU Referendum. Hannan was puzzled and furious as the way Brexit was reported. He admitted that because of the closeness of the vote, the UK was unlikely to become the "offshore, low-tax, global free-trading entrepôt" that he longs us to be.
  • Spring 2016: Hannan took part in 104 events and debates during the campaign.
  • 2016: Eighteen years later, many of Business for Sterling's funders and supporters gathered to the flag again.
  • Autumn 2015: As Cameron began his doomed renegotiation with the EU, Hannan reached out to Gove, Johnson, Villiers and others. Gove was fed soundbites by Hannan, eg., about people being fed up with experts, joking about British MEPs losing their jobs, and comparing pro-Remain economists to Nazi scientists. Theresa Villiers freely used excerpts from Hannan's speeches.
  • Summer 2015: Christopher Howarth, formerly of Open Europe,[9] took over from ERG Senior Researcher Robert Broadhurst.[1]
  • Autumn 2014: Hannan, Carswell and Reckless left the Tory party for Ukip in synchronised defections designed to keep up the pressure on Cameron for a referendum.
  • Aug.2012: The skeleton of the Leave campaign was in place. took its playbook from Business for Sterling. Hannan had been very impresed by Matthew Elliott's tactics in the "No to AV" referendum, and asked him to think about an EU referendum. Elliott used the original vehicle, Business for Britain, to set about winning friends and funding from the City. Elliott hired Dominic Cummings as campaign director. It was Cummings who coined the all-important slogan "Take Back Control", and came up with the deliberately crude figure of £350m per week to describe Britain's EU budget contribution.
  • Apr.2012: David Nuttall MP: sponsor of Robert Broadhurst, a "Senior Researcher, European Research Group (a group of Members that collectively employs a member of staff to support them in their Parliamentary functions). My employment by the ERG is funded by: Members' subscriptions paid for from their parliamentary allowances (or in one Member’s case, paid for by a donation from Mr John Winter); by a donation from GR Software & Research Limited; and by a donation from Lord Lamont of Lerwick."
  • Sept.2011: The first meeting of the more than 80 Conservative MPs takes place tomorrow and will see major new research commissioned on Britain’s relationship with Europe. George Eustice is the driving force behind the meeting. The MPs will tomorrow commission research from think-tank Open Europe and the European Research Group. Co-founder Daventry MP Chris Heaton-Harris said: "We are not a group as such, we are a network". Priti Patel is a co-signatory to the Mainstream euroscepticism movement. ref name="express-2011.09.11"
  • Mar.2011: The People's Pledge was launched; by October, a petition with 100,000 signatures had been signed, a debate in parlament, and 81 MPs signed up to the pledge.
  • Nov.2009: The Conservatives abandoned their Manifesto promise to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Hannan resigned as MEP, to devote himself full-time to "securing and winning a referendum on leaving the EU". He got in touch with the Democracy Movement, which had its own plan to bring about an In/Out referendum, called the "People's Pledge".
  • 2001: Hannan became speech-writer for William Hague, one notorious result of which was Hague's "Foreign Land" speech, which attacked Europe and asylum seekers.
  • 1999-2004: Hannan "radicalised" Theresa Villiers during her time as an MEP. The former Northerthe Democracy Movement had its own plan to bring about an in-out referendum in the UK, which was called the People’s Pledge. N.Ireland secretary helped persuade David Cameron to allow his cabinet to campaign freely during the vote.
  • Jul.1999: Daniel Hannan was elected to the European parliament as a Conservative candidate for the South-East. Once inside, he set about delegitimising and discrediting the EU. The very first thing he did was to write an article about the expenses and allowances available to MEPs, which caused great controversy. He wrote regularly for the Daily Telegraph, the Spectator, and many others. Hannan worked tirelessly to get the Conservative MEPs out of their moderate group; in 2009, he succeeded. (see W'pedia Hannan article)
  • Jul.1998: Tony Blair looked likely to adopt the Euro. The ERG published "The Euro: Bad for Business", written by Reckless, and Hannan organised two conferences. Business for Sterling was established as a single-issue pressure group to fight what was, at the time, a widely-expected referendum. Business for Sterling set the template, and included some of the key personnel, for the 2016 Leave campaign. Although led by right-wing Tory grandees - merchant banker Rodney Leach (later Baron Leach); Rupert Hambro of Hambros Bank, and the Marquess of Salisbury, it was outwardly cross-party and apolitical. Nick Herbert, who had run the Countryside Alliance, was in charge. He hired a young campaign director called Dominic Cummings. Business for Sterling recruited Bob Geldof, Vic Reeves and thousands of students to its cause. It helped keep opinion polls set against joining the Euro.
  • Spring 1998: Hannan began to look for a seat in the European parliament, believing a referendum on the euro was imminent.
  • Jun.1997: After the defeat to Labour, Hannan and friends attached themselves to Michael Howard as the most Eurosceptic candidate to lead the Conservatives.
  • 1993: Hannan convinced Ukip MP Douglas Carswell that Britain should pull out.
  • Jul.1993: The ERG was officially born - founded under the chairmanship of Sir Michael Spicer, a Tory backbencher, founded ERG "with a deliberately innocuous name".
  • Mar.1993: Hannan wrote to the 22 Eurosceptic MPs, offering himself as their researcher. Around a dozen agreed to form the European Research Group (ERG), with Hannan as its secretary. There were other, new anti-EU groups, such as Patrick Robertson's Bruges Group, and Bill Cash's European Foundation. The ERG's primary job was to keep the European debate alive, but Hannan and friends also consciously sought to bend the Conservative party to their thinking.
  • May.1992: Twenty-two Eurosceptic Conservative MPs rebelled against the Maastricht bill, almost bringing down the govt.
  • Nov.1990: John Major approved an early draft of the Maastricht Treasy, which motivated Hannan to found the Oxford Campaign for an Independent Britain (CIB), together with Mark Reckless and James Ross.
  • 1988: Margaret Thatcher perceived a European superstate on the horizon, with a character and goals that were different from her own. "We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them re-imposed at a European level," she said. This "Bruges speech" established a new form of Euroscepticism.
  • earlier: some interesting links on this Twitter thread about anti-EU feelings going way back.

Temp References

  • Dec.27.2017/aav-2017.12.27: The secretive Tory "party within a party" drawing up insane policies and promoting Brextremism. Another Angry Voice, '
  • Dec.22.2017/od-2017.12.22: Six of Theresa May's cabinet are paid up "members" of secret group demanding a total break from the EU. New data collected by IPSA show ... David Davis, Michael Gove, Penny Mordaunt, David Gauke, Sajid Javid, Andrea Leadsom, Chris Grayling. Stewart Jackson, who lost his Peterborough seat in June's general election, and is now chief of staff to David Davis at the DeXEU, also used his official expenses to pay for ERG services during the last years. Other data collated by IPSA show that 58 MPs have recently used taxpayers' money to fund the ERG’s activities. Steve Baker is regarded as the most powerful figure... openDemocracy discovered over £250,000 of public funds had been channelled to the ERG through MPs expenses. openDemocracy, James Cusick
  • Nov.29.2017: Donald Tusk Says MPs' Claim About EU And UK Citizens 'Has Nothing To Do With Reality'. (References Donald Tusk letter, see Nov.25.2017) HuffPost, Jack Sommers
  • Sept.09.2017/ref name:"guard-2017.09.09": Tories turn up pressure on Theresa May over EU withdrawal bill. MPs coordinate efforts to limit Henry VIII powers by forcing government to make concessions or risk humiliating defeat. It emerged that dozens of Eurosceptic backbenchers from the powerful European Research Group, had signed a Change Britain initiative letter urging the govt not to soften its stance on Brexit. ERG chair Suella Fernandes insisted she had not signed the letter herself, merely circulated it among colleagues. The Guardian, Heather Stewart, Rowena Mason
  • Sept.07.2017/ref name:"od-2017.09.07": [ Revealed: The Tory MPs using taxpayers' cash to fund a secretive hard-Brexit group.] Earlier this year, Baker confirmed he had accepted £6,500 from the Constitutional Research Council (same outfit that channeled ‘dark £s’ to the DUP) in 2016. In a brief reply this week, Christopher Howarth described the ERG link to the CRC as “amusing but entirely fanciful”. He repeated the explanation that the £6,500 had been from a "permissible donor". openDemocracy, James Cusick, Adam Ramsay, Crina Boros
  • Jul.28.2017/ref name:"ch-2017.07.29": The leading Conservative pro-Brexit group joins the govt (or rather, its leading lights do). The first appointments are beginning to emerge. When we analysed the previous govt’s list, they were "mostly remainers". But the new one contains some of the leading leavers from the 2015 intake. The news has a twist. The ERG officers are to stay in post: they will lead a group that has been a backbench force from within the Ministerial ranks. There are two ways of looking at this development. First, that Brexiteers are taking over the govt. Second, that the govt are taking over the Brexiteers, since it is hard to believe that the latter will have the same freedom of action within the constraints of govt. We leave it to our readers to make a judgement. ConservativeHome, Paul Goodman
  • Jul.06.2017: The double-hatted Suella Fernandes – both a member of the govt and a pro-Leave group leader. Chairman of the European Research Group of Conservative MPs, she succeeded Steve Baker. Under Baker's leadership, the ERG swiftly established a reputation as the most formidable pro-Brexit group within the parliamentary party, and Fernandes says it now has over 100 members. She insists that Brexit will be "meaningless" if it does not include leaving the Single Market and Customs Union. She has recently become a Parliamentary Private Secretary, jointly with Chris Philp, to the Treasury team of ministers, with Kwasi Kwarteng as PPS to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. ConHome: "And how does the ERG work? How many members do you have?" Fernandes: "Well we have a communication group, and that has over a hundred people I think in it. And we have briefings for our members, we provide research for them. I'm really glad that we’ve got Christopher Howarth providing the evidential ballast that they need. Crawford Falconer, the newly appointed trade negotiator, was New Zealand ambassador, he is very, very optimistic, and ready for striking trade deals, he said that after the UK cut trade links with New Zealand, they had to embrace the rest of the world, it kick-started their agricultural sector and it made them a lot more profitable, efficient, competitive". Conservative Home, Andrew Gimson
  • Jun.14.2017/ref name:"ji-2017.06.14": Steve Baker’s appointment provides huge reassurance that Brexit remains on course. David Jones sacked as a minister at the Brexit Department, Lord Bridges decided to quit his post... yesterday morning, many of the 80 or so members of the ERG, chaired by Steve Baker, gathered in Committee Room 14 for a meeting with (now reappointed) Brexit minister Robin Walker and Greg Hands and Mark Garnier from the Department for International Trade. The MPs were assured that govt policy had not changed and that the agenda of Feb's White Paper – outside the Single Market and Customs Union, British law again being supreme etc – very much remained in place. BrexitCentral, Jonathan Isaby
  • Feb.11.2017/ref name:"express-2017.02.11": Tory Brexiteers' WhatsApp Group 'directing govt policy on EU exit'. The ERG coordinates political strategy through a WhatsApp group entitled: "ERG DExEU/DIT Suppt Group". The name is believed to relate to the two Brexit ministries – the Department for Exiting the EU and the Department for International Trade. The goal of the organisation is reportedly to ensure a hard, clean Brexit with no payments to the EU, no reliance on EU courts and maximum flexibility to deal with the rest of the world. The group holds regular Monday meetings and each MP pays £2,000 a year from their parliamentary expenses towards a full-time researcher and other help. A leading ERG member told the Times they get "anything they want." The Express, Harry Walker
  • Feb.11.2017/ref name:"times-2017.02.11": Brexit-backing MPs plot their attacks on WhatsApp. Ministers say that the direction of govt is being shaped by ... the ERG. Daniel Hannan and Douglas Carswell, his soulmate, agitator for "direct democracy" and co-author of a book extolling populist politics which bypass the parliamentary system. They express a form of contemporary Falangism and, jointly with Matthew Elliott and Dominic Cummings, deceitfully suggested that "Take back control" implied the restoration of Westminster sovereignty. Anyone who watched the sneering and condescending "evidence" given to the Treasury Select Committee by the latter pair last Spring would be in no doubt that they share a disdain for parliamentary democracy. That quartet are widely known as the architects of Brexit, which I and others are working to overturn before immense damage is done to the UK. The Times, Sam Coates
  • Feb.05.2017/ref name:"indy-2017.02.05": Dozens of Tory MPs "threatening to wreck Brexit Bill. Tory Eurosceptics have claimed 27 rebels ready to back Brexit Bill amendments tabled by Labour and the LibDems. The Independent, Rachel Roberts
  • Jan.10.2017/ref name:"parl-2016.12.19": Steve Baker accepted £6,500 from the CRC to fund hospitality for ERG members + staff at an event on Dec.19.2016. "As Chair of the European Research Group (ERG), I accepted £6,500 from the Constitutional Research Council to fund hospitality for ERG members and their staff at an event on 19 December 2016". (Registered Jan.10.2017), '
  • Jan.06.2017/ref name:"sb-2017.01.06": ERG: The PM's anticipated speech on the EU. In advance of an anticipated speech by the Prime Minister on leaving the EU, European Research Group Chair Steve Baker MP and Deputy Chair Michael Tomlinson MP have issued the following statement on behalf of the ERG Officers: We’ll be delighted when it’s clear... Steve Baker's Blog, Steve Baker
  • Nov.26.2016: Tony Blair heads new pro-European Union movement. On Monday, Blair confirmed that he was forming a new organisation dedicated to opposing "resurgent populism" and returning politics to the "centre-ground". But public reaction was hostile, so an alternative was suggested. Alan Milburn – a top Blairite whose political journey began as a member of the Pabloite International Marxist Group and included his acting as an adviser to the previous Tory/LibDem coalition. Milburn publicly heads a group part-funded by Richard Branson's Virgin Group and other business concerns seeking to reverse the referendum result. It is backed by Sir Clive Cowdery, the insurance millionaire who funds the Resolution Foundation think tank, and Stephen Dorrell, a former Conservative Health Secretary. The European Research Group faction is led by John Whittingdale, Iain Duncan Smith, Michael Gove, Peter Lilley and John Redwood. Its strident demands forced May's chancellor Philip Hammond onto the defensive... (pdf version) World Socialist, Chris Marsden
  • Nov.25.2016: Letter to Donald Tusk from Michael Tomlinson. Signatories: Michael Tomlinson, Steve Baker, Suella Fernandes, Craig MacKinlay, John Penrose, Jacob Rees-Mogg, David Nuttall are signed as "Officers, ERG". Other signatories are: Lord David Blencathra, Andrew Bridgen, David Burrowed, David Campbell Bannerman, Douglas Carswell, Sir William Cash, Christopher Chope, James Celverly, Philip Davies, Nigel Dodds, Jeffrey Donaldson, Nadine Dorries, Steve Double, James Duddridge, Michael Fabricant, Marcus Fysh, Michael Gove, James Gray, Dordon Henderson, Philip Hollobone, Sir Gerald Howarth, Bernard Jenkin, Sir Edward Leigh, Peter Lilley, Jonathan Lord, Tim Loughton, Craig Mackinley, Scott Mann, Karl McCartney, Nigel Mills, Anne Marie Morris, David Nuttall, matthew Offord, Owen Paterson, john Penrose, Dominic Raab, John Redwood, Laurence Robertson, Paul Scully, Henry Smith, Iain Dundan Smith, Sir Desmond Swayne, Michael Tomlinson, Craig Tracey, Martin Vickers, Theresa Villiers, John Whittingdale, Bill Wiggin, William Wragg., Michael Tomlinson
  • Nov.20.2016: Dozens of Tory MPs 'pushing to leave single market and customs union'. More than 60 Conservative MPs - including a number of former Cabinet ministers - are reportedly pushing for Britain to leave the European single market. Politics Home, Emilio Casalicchio
  • Nov.19.2016: Heavyweight Brexiteers among 60 Tory MPs to demand clean break from the EU. The decision to go public with the call coincides with the relaunch of the ERG, a pro-Brexit Tory body that will keep up pressure on the Govt. Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and David Davis – dubbed "The Three Brexiteers" – are said to be far more open to leaving than Philip Hammond. In a bid to force the govt's hand, 60 Tory MPs have backed the statement: "The UK must leave the European Economic Area [EEA] and the Customs Union." Seven former Cabinet ministers backed the call, including five who served under David Cameron: Michael Gove, Ian Duncan Smith, John Whittingdale, Theresa Villiers and Owen Patterson; and two who served under John Major: Peter Lilley and John Redwood. Eleven Labour, DUP and Ukip MPs also backed the call. Steve Baker, a Tory MP and chairman of the ERG, said: “A vote to remain in the EEA or the Customs Union is a vote to be powerless over trade and domestic regulation and therefore poorer than we otherwise can be. The Telegraph, Ben Riley-Smith, Harry Yorke
  • Nov.19.2016: Dorset MP calls for Britain to leave SM as he launches new pro-Brexit lobby group. Michael Tomlinson, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, has been appointed deputy chairman of the relaunched European Research Group, which today issued a call to the govt to withdraw from the EU Customs Union and the European Economic Area (EEA). Bournemouth Echo, Will Frampton ref name="mt-201.11.19"
  • Sept.29.2016: The man who brought you Brexit. Britain’s vote to leave the EU was the grand finale of a 25-year campaign by a lonely sect of true believers. Daniel Hannan wrote the script. In Westminster, the ERG was part of a lattice of energetic, new anti-EU organisations, such as Patrick Robertson's Bruges Group, and Bill Cash's European Foundation. (circa 1992). The Guardian, Sam Knight
  • Sept.11.2011: Conservative sceptic MPs lead anti-EU fight. Founders of a new EU sceptic Conservative movement have vowed to lead the fightback against Brussels. The Express, Kirsty Buchanan


  1. ^ a b c "Vacancy: ERG" For the last 5 years I have been Chairman of the European Research Group, a group of Conservative MPs who employ a researcher to help research and brief us on European issues. Our current researcher is moving on and we are looking to employ someone in his place. If you think this role might be for you the job description and how to apply can be found here: W4MPJobs. Facebook, Chris Heaton-Harris MP, May.23.2015
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay MPs demand 'urgent investigation' into Cabinet ministers' support for hard-Brexit lobby group. MP expense claims for subscriptions to the ERG since 2010 openDemocracyUK, Adam Ramsay, Jan.29.2018
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj Tory MPs' hard Brexit letter to May described as ransom note. The Guardian, Anushka Asthana, Feb.20.2018
  4. ^ a b Here's a Leaked WhatsApp Chat Showing Tory Leavers' Confusion About One Of Their Key Brexit Demands. WhatsApp messages show Nadine Dorries saying she'd been talking with a politics teacher about Brexit and didn't know enough about the trading relationships of the customs union's members to argue the point. BuzzFeed News, Alex Spence, Jan.27.2018
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc Letter to Donald Tusk from Michael Tomlinson. Human beings are not bargaining chips., Michael Tomlinson, Nov.25.2016
  6. ^ a b c d Theresa May Has Just Promoted The Man Who Could Have Destroyed Her. HuffPost, Owen Bennett , Jun.13.2017
  7. ^ Steve Baker appointed Brexit Minister.Steve Baker, the Brexit true believer who leads the European Research Group of Leave MPs, has been appointed a minister in the Department for Exiting the European Union. Guido Fawkes, Jun.13.2017
  8. ^ a b Fears raised "rearguard action" will KEEP Brexit Britain in EU's Custom Union. FEARS have been raised that a “rearguard action” by the Treasury will keep Britain in the EU’s Custom Union and stop the country from making new free trade deals around the world. The fears of a split in the cabinet came as it is understood that Brexit Secretary David Davis reportedly told a private meeting with the Legatum Institute think tank today that "nothing has been ruled out" with the Customs Union. Richmond MP Rishi Sunak, a former international businessman and member of the European Research Group, said: "If we stay inside, Brussels will be in charge of our trade policy, and their track record is awful." The Express, David Maddox, Jan.11.2017
  9. ^ About Christopher Howarth., Christopher Howarth, accessed Mar.15.2018