Thursday 10 May 2018
Leave.EU press statement on the Electoral Commission report into the investigation of the use of Cambridge Analytica during the 2016 Referendum Campaign and notice of legal appeal against the “EC reported fines”.
For those of you who don’t have a long enough memory:
The Electoral Commission initiated their investigation into Leave.EU 400+ days ago after a number of Labour MPs generated fake news stories in the media abusing Parliamentary Privilege. They were unwilling to repeat these allegations outside Parliament…
They alleged that the campaign was funded by dark money and millions of people were mesmerised via Cambridge Analytica into voting for Brexit against their better judgement, much like the hissing snake in The Jungle Book – “look into my eyes!”
The EC have concluded that despite their investigation, Leave.EU did not fail to report referendum spending on services from Cambridge Analytica nor did we receive services via a donation.
Leave.EU did not use CA.
We have today written to the EC requesting they release all information they hold on the matter in the interest of public transparency, given the intense media interest.
Unable to produce a shred of evidence relating to the original allegations, they moved onto alleged “campaign overspend and reporting errors”.
Leave.EU raised and spent millions during the campaign. The Electoral Commission identified £78,000 of “disputed amounts” which led to an alleged overspend of £7,000 in respect of management charges which we do not consider to be directly attributable to the campaign. They have raised a number of other technical reporting errors which we dispute in full and intend to appeal against.
In our response (which you can read via this link), we highlighted over £200,000 of “over-reported” expenditure following an independent review, which included VAT in our submission(s) which was subsequently recovered along with other items. We believe the EC are incorrect as a matter of law and we intend to challenge their conclusions in court.
Leave.EU have informed the EC we will be challenging their findings through the courts and look forward to “robustly defending our position”. Our QC and legal team is ready to go.
The total alleged overspend represents 1% of the short money limit and less than 0.1% of the total campaign finance spend and represents a risible attempt to portray the campaign as breaking the rules.
Statement from Leave.EU co-founder, Arron Banks:
“The Electoral Commission is a ‘Blairite Swamp Creation’ packed full of establishment ‘Remoaners’ that couldn’t quite make it to the House of Lords, but managed to get their noses in the trough via appointment to public bodies like the Electoral Commission.
“We view the Electoral Commission announcement as a politically motivated attack on Brexit and the 17.4m people who defied the establishment to vote for an independent Britain.
“But don’t take my word for it.
“In the own words of the EC chairman, Sir John Holmes, ‘The Brexit Campaign was a panoply of Eurosceptic nonsense!’
“Other board members have weighed in with comments like, ‘Tony Blair was spot on when he declared Brexit was not inevitable’ and another commented that the young should not be bound by the result of the referendum.
“The EC went big game fishing and found a few ‘aged’ dead sardines on the beach. So much for the big conspiracy! “What a shambles, we will see them in court.”
Ladies and Gentleman, I give you the fair and unbiased Electoral Commission board members:
The Chair of a Pro-EU Foundation
Labour appointed former Council Leaders
Ex-Liberal Democrat MP who writes anti-Brexit material Ex-BBC board member with an anti-Trump Twitter account
Ex-Labour MP caught misusing public funds
Ex-Pro-EU Tory, Labour and SDP MP – Yes, he represented all three parties, the ultimate political whore!