Alastair Campbell and Peter Mandelson use dark arts to try to seize control of ...

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Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell on Saturday night faced claims that they were behind an attempted Blairite 'coup' at the campaign for a second EU referendum by leaking information damaging to its multi-millionaire backer.

Private emails seen by The Mail on Sunday reveal the plotting by the veteran Labour politicians against Roland Rudd, the powerful chairman of the People's Vote campaign.

In one email, Mr Campbell said of the secret power struggle with Mr Rudd, who is the brother of former Tory Cabinet Minister Amber Rudd: 'I do not see how this gets done without a public battle and it should happen soon and be fast and brutal.'

In another, former Business Secretary Lord Mandelson wrote to colleagues — including Mr Campbell: 'I agree we need to pin down Roland's slipperiness. To counter what he said … will require trawling through and possible exposure of private email chains. Who is going to do that?'

In one email, Alistair Campbell (pictured) said of the secret power struggle with Mr Rudd, who is the brother of former Tory Cabinet Minister Amber Rudd: 'I do not see how this gets done without a public battle and it should happen soon and be fast and brutal'

In one email, Alistair Campbell (pictured) said of the secret power struggle with Mr Rudd, who is the brother of former Tory Cabinet Minister Amber Rudd: 'I do not see how this gets done without a public battle and it should happen soon and be fast and brutal'

In another, former Business Secretary Lord Peter Mandelson (pictured) wrote to colleagues — including Mr Campbell: 'I agree we need to pin down Roland's slipperiness. To counter what he said … will require trawling through and possible exposure of private email chains. Who is going to do that?'

In another, former Business Secretary Lord Peter Mandelson (pictured) wrote to colleagues — including Mr Campbell: 'I agree we need to pin down Roland's slipperiness. To counter what he said … will require trawling through and possible exposure of private email chains. Who is going to do that?'

The communications have lifted the lid on the bitter behind-the-scenes fighting at the People's Vote about the strategic direction of the campaign, with allies of Mr Rudd claiming that Lord Mandelson and Mr Campbell, both senior advisers on the campaign, have been responsible for 'bullying and intimidation' in the office.

Last night, the campaign described the leak to this newspaper on the day that thousands of people marched on the capital to demand a second vote on the UK's membership of the EU as 'deeply unfortunate' and 'petty'.

When the People's Vote group was launched last year, its stated mission was to demand a referendum on what kind of Brexit the UK wanted rather than overturn the 2016 result altogether. Since then Mr Rudd has shifted its strategy to overtly arguing for staying in the European Union.

The move has been resisted by Lord Mandelson and Mr Campbell – the architects of Tony Blair's takeover of Labour in the 1990s – who have argued ferociously with Mr Rudd that the group should disguise its support for Remain and present its ideas in terms of 'breaking the Brexit impasse'.

The emails were

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