Leavers Declare EU-Linked Electoral Commission ‘Unfit to Regulate Our Democracy in the Age of Brexit’

Arron Banks
Matt Cardy/Getty

Britain’s largest Leave campaign has pointed out the close links with the European Union (EU) of the Electoral Commission after the body announced a probe into Brexit backer Arron Banks.

Leave.EU has taken the EC to task for its EU links, after it announced it is seeking to establish whether or not Mr. Banks and one of his firms, Better for the Country Limited, were the “true source” of various donations made to Leave campaigners during the referendum, or if they were, in fact, acting as agents of “non-qualifying persons[s]”.

This has been widely interpreted as a sop to diehard Remainers, such as Ben Bradshaw MP, who have been advancing conspiracy theories about the Russian Federation swinging the EU referendum since the Leave vote was cast in June 2016.

Banks responded to the news in his typically pugnacious style on the day, dismissing any suggestions of collusion with the Kremlin as “complete bollocks from beginning to end” and called for a judge-led inquiry to investigate spending not only by Leave.EU, but by Vote Leave, and the government-backed Britain Stronger in Europe (BSE) campaign.

Leave.EU has now stepped up its attack, however, highlighting the EU links of the “political placemen” on the Electoral Commission itself in a pull-no-punches social media post declaring it is “not fit to regulate our democracy in an age of Brexit” and “requires immediate investigation”.

To list just a few examples:

  • Chairman Sir John Howarth has organised a number of europhile conferences in his capacity as director of the Ditchley Foundation, both before and since the referendum.
  • Member David Howarth is a former Liberal Democrat MP who serves on the RAND Europe Council of Advisors alongside two former EU Commissioners and former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt, who took his country into the EU in the 1990s and later served it as a special envoy.
  • John Horam had to declare he was a member of Conservative Europe Group, led by arch-europhile Ken Clarke MP, when the EC was deciding on which group to designate as the “official” campaign to Leave the EU.

Banks believes the probe — which he promises will come to nothing — is just “the Remain establishment once again trying to discredit the [referendum] result”, and suggested that the judge-led inquiry which he proposes should take a hard look at the EC itself, and whether or not it allowed the Remain-supporting government to influence its decisions during the referendum.

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