Farage: Electoral Commission Behaviour Shows Establishment Is ‘Rotten to the Core’

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage speaks at a European Parliament election campaign rally at Frimley Green, south west of London on May 19, 2019. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)
ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty

A new investigation into Brexit party finances when they were allegedly given a clean bill of health just last week, has seen Nigel Farage rallying against the Electoral Commission over what he calls politically motivated actions.

Brexit leader Nigel Farage said an eve-of-election investigation into his party, which he insists has done everything by the book, proved Britain’s political establishment is “rotten to the core”.

The investigation comes after former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown accused the Brexit Party of receiving large amounts of money from small “undeclared, untraceable payments”. The payments in question fall below the £500 threshold required for further scrutiny under UK election law, and are common across the board of UK political parties, yet so far only the Brexit Party has been singled out for further investigation.

Far from being merely compliant with the rules, his party was going further to ensure money was coming from legitimate sources and returning cash when appropriate, Nigel Farage said. Speaking to the Press Association, Farage said the commission was guilty of political interference and that; “I’ve set this up properly, I’m entirely confident that we are more compliant than any of the other parties right now.”

Mr Farage defended the party funding, saying: “We have a different model. We don’t have a traditional members model, we have registered supporters. We do it differently.”

The Brexit Party at present does not have a membership structure but rather is made up of ‘registered supporters’ who each pay £25. Mr Farage has claimed that so far they have attracted over 100,000 such supporters, generating over two and a half million pounds in small donations.

Farage went on to say: “As for this accusation that we’re doing something wrong, I’ll tell you what it is. I was in a room in Bolton last night and I asked how many people were registered supporters. Ninety per cent put their hands up. That’s where the money is coming from and they cannot cope with our success.”

“Not that they’ll find anything wrong,” he added of the Electoral Commission review.

Mr Farage said at the Monday evening Bolton rally that the party had declared its funding to the Electoral Commission last week and that they had received a “clean bill of health”, however when they asked the commission to put this in writing, the government body refused.

The commission has now determined that, 48 hours before the European elections on Thursday, it will investigate the party and make it public knowledge that it is doing so. Mr Farage said that this was because the political establishment, of which the Electoral Commission are a part, were not just scared of the Brexit Party but were “absolutely terrified”.

This is not the first time the commission has gone after a party led by Mr Farage. Last year, it announced that it had eventually cleared UKIP of any misconduct in its finances following investigations about funding in 2015 and 2016 when Mr Farage was party leader.

Mr Farage said at the time that the news had not received much coverage and that the Electoral Commission was biased. “Did anyone see that on the news?” he said. “That, after two years of agony, I came out with a clean bill of health? You will not see that anywhere!”

In 2018, it was revealed that 40 per cent of the members of the Electoral Commission board had publicly spoken out condemning Brexit. One member had said it was ‘regrettable’ and another questioned the validity of the referendum itself given that it was largely older people who voted to leave while younger people tended to vote to remain.

The members were all urged to resign due to violating impartiality rules but refused to do so. Conservative MP and arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg said at the time: “Anyone who has called for a second referendum or made political statements on Brexit ought to recuse him or herself from any decision with regard to the referendum.”

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