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Analysis

Banks’ alleged cheating could boost People’s Vote

by Hugo Dixon | 06.11.2018

Arron Banks funded the nasty, xenophobic campaign fronted by Nigel Farage in 2016. His alleged law-breaking is so big that it could have flipped the referendum result.

The Electoral Commission last week referred the Leave.EU boss to the National Crime Agency (NCA), the UK’s equivalent of the FBI, for “multiple criminal offences”. It said it had “reasonable grounds” to suspect that Banks was not the true source of the £8 million he pumped into the leave campaign and that the money came from an impermissible source.

Today the Information Commissioner says it is minded to fine Leave.EU and Eldon Insurance, Banks’ insurance company, £135,000 for breaching privacy regulations. It is also investigating allegations that Eldon shared customer data obtained for insurance purposes with Leave.EU.

£8 million is not a small amount of money. Without it, the various organisations Banks put money into – including Grassroots Out as well as Leave.EU – might have been unable to operate their vicious campaign on the scale that they did. And without such noisy, racist interventions, the result could have been different.

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Some think the evidence unearthed by the two regulators is a reason to pause Brexit until the investigations have completed their course. They have a point, but it is not a practical option.

Others think the evidence is a reason to declare the 2016 referendum not valid – or to run it again. Again, this is not a practical option. What’s more, the country needs to look forward and make the best decision given where we are now.

The case for a People’s Vote at the end of the Brexit talks is not that the 2016 referendum was not valid. It is rather that new facts have emerged which voters could not have known two and a half years ago. The most important concern the miserable half-baked deal that the prime minister is concocting.

However, this does not mean the investigations into Banks are irrelevant. Brits like fair play. So the probes may help to persuade more MPs and voters of the merits of a People’s Vote by giving them permission to look at the choice we now face with an open mind.

Banks denied any wrongdoing after the Electoral Commission referred him to the NCA and said he welcomed the investigation.

Edited by Bill Emmott

5 Responses to “Banks’ alleged cheating could boost People’s Vote”

  • To think that the future of this country should depend on the whims of this jumped-up wide-boy! And I could be referring to almost any of these clowns, Boris, Davis, Fox, IDS, Farage….they could all be candidates, but, in this case, I am referring to Arron Banks, the paymaster, the offshore investor, with a multitude of companies, shell and otherwise. Now, just why would someone like that want to support Brexit? just asking.

  • Behind all of this, you can detect Russian mischief making. Putin is determined to cause as much confusion and upset in the western world as possible, viz. Trump, Le Pen and the resurgence of the right wing in Italy, Hungary, Sweden and so many others. Brexit is a triumph for him via his tools like Banks and Rees-Mogg (who invests heavily in Russian banks but not one penny in the UK !!).

    Be under no illusions, we are at war.

  • As this sad and sorry story emerges of ” strange goings on ” in the conduct of the EU Referendum one is indeed left wondering whether the country has not been hijacked by a bunch of unscrupulous people such as A Banks and associates aided by
    -the extraordinary hard brexiteers who do not deal in facts but emotions;
    -the large number of uninformed citizens of the UK who have been deliberately misled by the nationalist right wing press;

    But why then do we not see reactions from the government and MP’s to this increasingly obvious fraudulent campaign.? It was reassuring to read the letter to the PM by Lawyers for a people’s Vote. Can she continue to ignore such advice ?

  • I think Spiv would be better than wide boy. It denotes wrong doing especially in my generations. Spivs stole goods and sold them on the black market thus making a Hugh profit. Nothing too big or two small during WWII. Those who could not afford food exciters clothes, had to do without. It was the restaurants, hotels and rich people who bought. Thus denying the man in the street Joe Bloggs and Mrs Bloggs.

  • “Brits like to play fair”. Unless it’s Europeans and other foreign nationals they’re whingeing about? It’s a good thing there are indeed at least 48 percent of Brits I know that are not like that and it looks like a lot of others are coming round to decent reasoning again. So yes please, a second referendum!