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Tue, 7 April 2020

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EXCL Tory grassroots group Activate confirms it has shut down less than two months after launch

EXCL Tory grassroots group Activate confirms it has shut down less than two months after launch
3 min read

A grassroots campaign to boost Conservative support among young people has shut down its operation less than two months after its official launch.

Activate UK’s former spokesman Sam Ancliff told PoliticsHome that work commitments had come in the way of running the group, with key members saying that dedicating eight hours a day to the project was not compatible with a full-time job.

He added that the stigma associated with the group, alongside a lack of technical skills required to run the operation, meant that none of its members wanted to step up and take over the top roles.

The group only officially launched at a London drinks reception in April, but have now confirmed that they will shut down for good.

The team have begun wiping their online presence, shutting down their website as well as archiving Activate's Facebook pages. They group have changed stripped the content from their Twitter account renaming it, “The Artist Formerly Known as Activate".

The campaign had a rocky start last year when a WhatsApp chat associated with the organisation was leaked.

Activists in the online group joked about “gassing chavs” and “shooting peasants” leading the Conservative Party to quickly distance themselves from the grassroots group.

But Mr Ancliff said that the group had 1,500 paying members when the decision was made to close down the operations, adding that it had acquired a “substantial amount” of cash from memberships and donations.

The former spokesman said that the remaining funds would be “definitely donated to Conservative causes”.

He added: “The question that remains is whether that means similar organisations, individual campaigns or a mix of the two.”

“We may put some of the money towards Conservative groups such as Conservative Progress who have some good aims or we may use some of the money to fund individual campaigns where a young Conservative is standing. It might be a mix of the two – we haven’t decided yet.”

But he insisted that the cash would not be donated to the central Conservative party.

Mr Ancliff added that he believed the group had been a “huge success”.

"The National Committee ultimately decided that it would be best to end whilst we are still successful and use our resources to make one last difference than to risk the organisation fall into chaos.

"Ultimately I feel Activate was a huge success, we drove forward the change in mindset in the Party which has seen a shift in policy focus and the revival of Young Conservatives."

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