“The rules we enforce were put in place by Parliament to ensure transparency and public confidence in our democratic processes. 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.”
Bob Posner, Director of political finance and regulation Electoral Commission
Can the EU Brexit referendum of June 2016 really be called ‘free and fair’ when we now know that both Leave campaigns exceeded electoral spending by a staggering 10% and 7% – when both Leave.EU and Arron Banks broke data protection rules, with Banks now under investigation by the National Crime Agency?
UK Electoral Commissions refers Leave.EU founder Arron Banks to UK National Crime Agency for alleged breaches of electoral law
Leave.EU fined £70,000 by the Electoral Commission for offences committed under electoral law, now under investigation by the ICO
Official Brexit campaign Vote Leave fined by the Electoral Commission
for multiple offences committed under electoral law
Daniel Hannan’s Conservative group ordered to repay over €500k
A group led by Brexit campaigner and MEP Daniel Hannan has been asked to repay more than half a million euros of EU funds following an investigation into their spending. The Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe (Acre) has been asked to repay €535,609 (£484,360) of EU funds. The money was spent on lavish meetings across the globe in an effort to drum up trade for Hannan’s vision of a post-Brexit UK, and not on causes furthering the European project – the intended use of the funding. Read more….
Smears and lies from the TaxPayers’ Alliance
November 2018 – Rightwing pressure group the TaxPayers’ Alliance has admitted to a vile smear campaign and the illegal sacking of whistleblower Shahmir Sanni for revealing unlawful overspending in the Brexit referendum campaign. Read more…
Banks faces £135,000 in fines for breaking data laws
November 2018 – Arron Banks, the backer of Leave.EU, and his companies face a £135,000 fine after the information commissioner found that data from one of his insurance businesses was used for pro-Brexit marketing before the EU referendum. The Information Commissioner’s Office also found that the Liberal Democrats had sold the personal data of party members to Britain Stronger in Europe, the leading Remain campaign, for about £10,000, potentially breaking the law. The Lib Dems deny the charge and the inquiry is ongoing. Read more…
Facebook fined maximum £500,000 for breaking data laws
October 2018 – Facebook has been fined £500,000 by the UK’s privacy watchdog the ICO after it concluded the social media giant broke data laws. The California-headquartered company failed to protect users’ information and then failed to be clear about how that information had been harvested by others. That was the conclusion of a major report into whether personal data had been misused by both sides during the EU referendum. Facebook and Cambridge Analytica have been under scrutiny since it emerged that an app had been used to harvest the data of millions of Facebook users around the world, with the total number of people affected now at 87 million. Read more…
Cambridge Analytica helped ‘cheat’ Brexit vote and US election, claims whistleblower
March 2018 – Misuse of data and “cheating” by Cambridge Analytica and other companies associated with the firm may have altered the outcome of both the U.S. presidential election and the U.K.’s Brexit referendum, a company whistleblower told British lawmakers. Chris Wylie, the former director of research at Cambridge Analytica, which has been accused of illegally collecting online data of up to 50 million Facebook users, said that his work allowed Donald Trump’s presidential campaign to garner unprecedented insight into voters’ habits ahead of the 2016 vote. He added that a Canadian business with ties to Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, SCL Group, also provided analysis for the Vote Leave campaign ahead of the 2016 Brexit referendum. This research, Wylie said, likely breached the U.K.’s strict campaign financing laws and may have helped to sway the final Brexit outcome.
“If we allow cheating in our democratic process … What about next time? What about the time after that? This is a breach of the law. This is cheating,” he told British politicians “This is not some council race, or a by-election. This is an irreversible change to the constitutional settlement of this country.”
Nigel Farage has European Parliament salary docked to recoup misspent EU funds
January 2018 – The Guardian reports that Nigel Farage MEP is being docked half his monthly MEP salary after a European parliament investigation alleged he had misspent public funds intended for staffing his office. The former Ukip leader will lose €40,000 (£35,500) in total after European parliament auditors concluded he had misspent that amount of EU funds.
Remain fined by Electoral Commission
December 2017 – Official Remain campaign Britain Stronger in Europe – since re-named Open Britain – was hit with a £1,250 fine for incorrect spending returns. The Liberal Democrats were fined £18,000 for failing to deliver a complete and accurate spending return from the 2016 EU referendum campaign, including failing to provide acceptable invoices or receipts for 80 payments totalling more than £80,000. Source: Politics Home / FT
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