By Michael Bäcklund. This article originally appeared on...
55 Tufton Street
- Annunziata Rees-Mogg attended Godolphin and Latymer, a private girls’ school in Hammersmith, London. 
The US leaders of a scandal-hit American student movement are touring the UK this week, following the launch of a British branch of the organisation last month.
Advocating climate science denial, “free markets and limited government”, and with numerous links to the fossil fuel industry and Donald Trump, Turning Point claims to have a presence on more than 1,300 college campuses and high schools, engaging in “over 500,000 face-to-face conversations with college students each semester.”
If you have detected a distinctly American flavour to the rampant lobbying in Westminster corridors over a Brexit deal, there is a good reason why.
A close look at the transatlantic connections of the London-based groups pushing for the most deregulated form of Brexit reveals strong ties to major US libertarian influencers. These include fossil fuel magnates the Koch brothers — known for funding climate science denial around the world — and the man who bankrolled Donald Trump’s campaign, Robert Mercer.
At the heart of this network lies a little-known power couple, Matthew and Sarah Elliott. Together, the husband and wife team connect senior members of the Leave campaign and groups pushing a libertarian free-market ideology from offices in Westminster’s Tufton Street to major US libertarian lobbyists and funders.
Collectively, the network aims to use Brexit as an opportunity to slash regulations in the UK, paving the way for a wide-ranging US-UK free-trade deal that could have disastrous consequences for the environment.
A group of hard-Brexiters is working together to launch a “Museum of Communist Terror” with the aim to “keep alive knowledge and understanding of the deaths, terror and economic failure that took place under Communist regimes, primarily in the 20th century”.
Over the last month, individuals from high-profile and opaquely-funded organisations advancing free-market and libertarian ideology have joined the venture founded by journalist and writer James Bartholomew.
This included senior members of Vote Leave such as the campaign’s founder Daniel Hannan, who later founded the IFT (previously Institute for Free Trade), technology chief Thomas Borwick and head of social media Chloe Westley, now a campaign manager at the Taxpayers’ Alliance, which was founded by Vote Leave’s chief executive Matthew Elliott.
“It’s about low tax, low regulation — an economy fit for hedge fund owners”.
That’s how Peter Jukes, an investigative journalist with Byline Media, describes the aims of a network of shadowy thinktanks and campaign groups operating out of offices on Tufton Street, just around the corner from the Houses of Parliament.
DeSmog UK has previously mapped all the key connection between the organisations, many of which are leading voices in for Brexit and climate science denial.
Nine right-wing organisations including think tanks pushing disinformation about climate change have been accused of mounting a coordinated campaign to push for a hard Brexit, according to court documents.
Whistleblower Shahmir Sanni, formerly of youth campaign group BeLeave, claims that think tanks and campaign groups held regular meeting at 55 Tufton Street — an office close to Westminster and home to the climate science denial group the Global Warming Policy Foundation — to “agree on a single set of right-wing talking points” and “securing more exposure to the public”.
Some of the topics discussed allegedly included “new policy announcement by the Labour Party, developments in the Brexit negotiations, or any other political news story”.
The accusations were made in documents from an employment tribunal setting out Sanni’s case against pressure group the TaxPayers’ Alliance, which he has accused of unfair dismissal after he spoke out about illegal behaviour at Vote Leave, the official pro-Brexit campaign group.