If there’s one thing the fining of Leave.EU proves, it is that the result of the European Union referendum is meaningless.
This organisation, which has close ties to UKIP, abused electoral spending limits, racking up an “unlawful overspend” of at least £77,380.
It received services from US campaign strategists Goddard Gunster that were not included in its spending return, despite some of them having been used during the referendum campaign.
But Cambridge Analytica, which repeatedly tried to obtain work from Leave.EU, was found not to have provided any because the organisation did not support promises it had made.
Leave.EU inaccurately reported three loans it had received from companies controlled by co-founder Arron Banks.
And Leave.EU failed to provide the required invoice or receipt for 97 payments of over £200, totalling £80,224.
Those are big breaches; apparently the Electoral Commission would have made its fine larger but was restricted by a legal cap on the amount it could demand.
Mr Banks has responded by accusing the Electoral Commission of launching a “politically-motivated” attack against Brexit.
He made a series of ad hominem attacks – targeting the Commission and its members rather than any of its findings.
So: “The Electoral Commission is a ‘Blairite swamp creation’ packed full of establishment ‘remoaners’ that couldn’t quite make it to the House of Lords.”
What a charmer.
Leave.EU wanted to be the official pro-Brexit campaign in the EU referendum but lost out to Vote Leave. This meant it was restricted to a budget of £700,000 in the final weeks of the campaign while Vote Leave was able to spend £7 million.
But Vote Leave, which was supported by Conservative and some Labour MPs, is also facing an Electoral Commission investigation, into whether it also breached campaign finance rules by funnelling cash to other pro-Brexit groups.
The only conclusion we can draw from these shananigans is that the Leave campaign rode roughshod over the rules in an attempt to illegally influence UK citizens into voting ‘Leave’.
We don’t know how many of the 17.4 million who called for the country to exit the EU were unduly influenced in this way. Even a tiny variation could have made a huge difference to the result, which was extremely close.
This means the decision to leave the European Union is unlikely to be legitimate and the only reason it is being pushed through now is that certain politicians got the result they wanted.
This Writer reckons they believe they will profit from it, and couldn’t care less if the country as a whole suffers.
Who are they? I suppose we’ll have to see who does profit from it.
Leave.EU has been fined £70,000 and its chief executive has been referred to the Metropolitan police after the Electoral Commission found it had breached multiple counts of electoral law during the referendum to leave the European Union.
The investigation found that Leave.EU, which was co-founded by Arron Banks, unlawfully exceeded its statutory spending limit by at least 10% and delivered incomplete and inaccurate spending and transaction returns.
The group campaign chief, Liz Bilney, one of Banks’s closest associates, faces a police investigation. The commission said it had reasonable grounds to suspect she “knowingly or recklessly signed a false declaration accompanying the Leave.EU referendum spending return”.