May blocked security services from investigating Arron Banks ahead of Brexit vote – reports
Theresa May reportedly blocked a security services probe into Arron Banks on the eve of the EU referendum, the revelations, reported by Daily Mail, have sparked a furor from Labour MPs and on social media.
In early 2016, then Home Secretary May declined a request to further investigate Banks, Britain's biggest ever individual political donor, following a meeting with security services.
The Daily Mail reports that the now-PM thought that investigating Banks would be too explosive so close to the Brexit vote.
The revelations will heap pressure on Banks a day after the National Crime Agency (NCA) announced they were launching an investigation into the funding of his Leave.EU campaign group.
Banks has consistently denied any wrongdoing, stating “I am a UK taxpayer and I have never received any foreign donations,” and that he welcomed the investigation "as an opportunity to clear up the matter."
Many Remainers have been quick to jump on the story, with Labour MP Ben Bradshaw tweeting that May now has “serious questions to answer,” while his colleague David Lammy posted: if the reports are true “May has undermined the rule of law.”
There is no excuse for politicians to prevent criminal investigations for political expedience. If The Mail's reports are true, Theresa May has undermined the rule of law. Serious questions must be answered before Brexit can proceed.https://t.co/W0BChC86sm— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) November 2, 2018
If it is true that Theresa May stopped the intelligence services from investigating Banks in 2016 because of sensitivity about the #Brexit referendum, the Prime Minister has serious questions to answer. https://t.co/3yEuOIFJQa— Ben Bradshaw (@BenPBradshaw) November 1, 2018
Bradshaw also detailed how he wrote to the PM “to ask if she or any other minister or senior official has at any stage declined a request from any of our security, intelligence or law enforcement agencies to investigate Banks.”
This is extremely serious. I have today written to the Prime Minister to ask if she or any other Minister or senior official has at any stage declined a request from any of our security, intelligence or law enforcement agencies to investigate Banks. https://t.co/EJAwigaRBy— Ben Bradshaw (@BenPBradshaw) November 2, 2018
Number 10 has so far refused to comment on the story, although a spokesperson said: “We would never confirm or deny the detail of any conversation with security services on any topic.”
On Thursday, the Electoral Commission announced that they had referred Banks to the NCA, as there were grounds to suspect that he was not “the true source” of £8m ($10.3m) worth of donations to the Leave.EU group.
Subsequently the NCA confirmed they were investigating Banks for “multiple suspected offences.”
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