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People's Vote chief takes leave of absence after harassment claims

The chief executive of the People’s Vote campaign has taken a leave of absence before an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment made against him by three female members of staff.

Patrick Heneghan has stepped down from the cross-party campaign group after female staff wrote a letter saying they did not “feel safe returning to work whilst [Heneghan] is in a position of power and authority”, the Sunday Times reported.

Roland Rudd, the campaign’s chairman, sent staff an email on Saturday stating that Heneghan had taken a leave of absence pending the investigation by a law firm.

“Patrick has said that he wants the opportunity to try to clear his name,” the email said. “I know that the last few weeks have been difficult for many people but I hope that we can begin to put these events behind us and proceed as a team.”

Heneghan, who was appointed less than a fortnight ago, said the allegations were “false” and “politically motivated”.

Stuart Hand, a former Conservative party elections official, has been appointed acting head of the campaign.

Patrick Heneghan



Patrick Heneghan said the claims were ‘false’ and ‘politically motivated’. Photograph: Unknown

Meanwhile, the People’s Vote has launched its own tactical voting app and pledged £100,000 to Labour, Lib Dem and Green candidates who support another referendum.

Some of the 100 seat recommendations are yet to be confirmed.

People’s Vote said: “The appetite for a people’s vote has never been keener. Supporting those candidates who can deliver a final say referendum is vital for Britain’s future health and prosperity.”

It is one of several initiatives to try and unite the remain vote. Gina Miller, the pro-remain businesswoman, is launching a campaign to persuade supporters to vote tactically to improve the chances of securing a second referendum in the next parliament.

She is unveiling a website with advice on how remain supporters could vote tactically in nearly all of the 649 constituencies up for election by deploying artificial intelligence.

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