Brexit campaign Leave.EU fined £70,000 and referred to police for electoral offences

GettyNigel Farage
  • Leave.EU fined £70,000 for multiple breaches of electoral law.
  • The Brexit campaign, fronted by Nigel Farage, failed to properly delare spending during the referendum campaign.
  • The Eletoral Commission has referred an individual on the campaign to the Metropolitan Police.
  • The group’s founder Arron Banks accuses the commission of a “politically motivated attack.”

LONDON – One of the leading Brexit campaign groups has been fined £70,000 and referred to the Metropolitan Police after electoral authorities found it had committed “multiple breaches” of electoral law.

Leave.EU, the Brexit campaign group fronted by former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, failed to properly declare at least £77,380 in spending during the campaign, the electoral commission said in a statement on Friday morning.

The commission said the campaign, founded by the financier Arron Banks, had exceeded the limit for non-party registered campaigners by at least 10%.

In a statement the commission said it had “reasonable grounds to suspect that the responsible person for Leave.EU committed criminal offences and she has therefore been referred to the Metropolitan Police.”

“The rules we enforce were put in place by Parliament to ensure transparency and public confidence in our democratic processes,” Bob Posner, Electoral Commission Director of Political Finance and Regulation & Legal Counsel, said.

“It is therefore disappointing that Leave.EU, a key player in the EU referendum, was unable to abide by these rules. Leave.EU exceeded its spending limit and failed to declare its funding and its spending correctly. These are serious offences. The level of fine we have imposed has been constrained by the cap on the Commission’s fines.”

However, the commission found no evidence that the group had worked with the controversial Cambridge Analytica data firm beyond some initial “scoping” work.

Leave.EU called the findings a “politically motivated attack”.

“The Electoral Commission is a ‘Blaire 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,” Banks said in a statement.

“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.”

Banks said that the group would contest the fine.

“What a shambles, we will see them in court,” he told the BBC.

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