Vote Leave to face police investigation after being fined £61k for breaching electoral law
The watchdog found Vote Leave, the group designated for championing the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, broke electoral laws through “joint work” with another campaign group, BeLeave.
The investigation found BeLeave – headed by Darren Grimes – had made payments amounting to £675,000 (US$893,000) to data firm Aggregate IQ under “common plans” with Vote Leave. It means the latter exceeded its £7 million spending limit by almost £450,000.
We publish today the conclusions of our investigation into Vote Leave’s EU referendum spending. We found significant evidence of undeclared joint working between the lead leave campaigner, Vote Leave, and the campaign group BeLeave. Read the full report https://t.co/L1qv1ihH72pic.twitter.com/ezeI7puLDC— Electoral Commission (@ElectoralCommUK) July 17, 2018
Bob Posner from the Electoral Commission said: “We found substantial evidence that the two groups worked to a common plan, did not declare their joint working and did not adhere to the legal spending limits. These are serious breaches of the laws put in place by Parliament to ensure fairness and transparency at elections and referendums.”
The commission also as a donation by Vote Leave. It found reporting was inaccurate and fined Veterans for Britain £250.
Vote Leave’s spokesman, however, contested the inquiry outcome, saying: “The Electoral Commission’s report contains a number of false accusations and incorrect assertions that are wholly inaccurate and do not stand up to scrutiny.”
He also contended the watchdog’s decision to fine Vote Leave £20,000 for failing to cooperate in their investigation, saying Vote Leave was “never interviewed” in the past two years.
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