Arron Banks.

The man who bankrolled the Leave.EU campaign in last year’s EU referendum has graced us with his opinion on the Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe question – and it ought to make you a Remainer on the spot.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested in Iran last year, while she was visiting relatives in that country with her daughter, to celebrate the Persian New Year. The charge against her is apparently “plotting to topple the regime”.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson – ignorant fool that he is – made matters worse by telling Parliament she was training journalists when she was doing nothing of the sort. In fact, the assertion aided the claims of the Iranian authorities, who instantly dragged Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe back into court to threaten the addition of an extra five years to her prison sentence, doubling it.

Michael Gove – the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary – made matters worse by supporting Mr Johnson in an interview with Andrew Marr. While he did not repeat the falsehood that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was training journalists, he said he did not know why she had been in Iran and, after being told, made it seem that the explanation was unconvincing.

Both Mr Johnson and Mr Gove are now facing demands for their resignation, and minority prime minister Theresa May is facing demands for her to sack them if they won’t go willingly.

It is in this atmosphere that Arron Banks, who funded Leave.EU and is implicated in allegations of foreign – Russian? – interference in the campaign for the UK to leave the European Union, has commented in support of Messrs Johnson and Gove. He tweeted:

He was responding to Labour MP Chris Bryant, who had tweeted:

In response, Mr Bryant stated:

And he’s right.

Arron Banks was the biggest supporter of Brexit – certainly its biggest funder. While he remains a shadowy figure, known more for his money than any public profile, he is the person most likely to be directly responsible for the vote in favour of leaving the EU, because of the huge funding boost he gave to the Leave campaign.

And both Mr Johnson and Mr Gove supported Brexit, so one is led to believe that Mr Banks is speaking out in support of them, rather than because he has any interest at all in Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

That is not acceptable.

The fact that this man is willing to condemn an innocent woman who has been wrongly imprisoned in a foreign country, purely to save the faces of his Brexit collaborators, is utterly vile. It casts a shadow over the entire Brexit movement.

Anybody supporting Brexit should be considering this situation very carefully. These are their leaders and their leaders are absolutely disgusting.

Brexit is right at the top of the news agenda at the time of writing (November 13), as the issue of workers’ rights has been raised by the Labour Party and by businessman James Dyson – he wants to use our departure to hammer workers’ rights.

Again – if this is the reality of Brexit, why do we want it?

Ultimately, Mr Banks – along with Messrs Johnson, Gove and Dyson – may have done us a good turn.

By showing us how repulsive he really is, he provides an excellent reason to demand reversal of the referendum decision.


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