A Scottish Nationalist member of the European Parliament has apologised and agreed to pay legal costs after accusing the Brexit Party of being a “money laundering front” after the European Union elections that party won.
Alyn Smith, a representative for the Scotland electoral region of the European Union for the Scottish Nationalist Party — a left-wing nationalist group which campaigns to break up the United Kingdom, intending to subsume Scotland into a federal European superstate — apologised Monday, the Brexit Party revealed in a statement.
The apology came after comments made by Smith in May, when speaking on British broadcaster Sky News the politician accused the party of being “shysters”. Alledging criminal misconduct, Smith said:
The only question about the Brexit Party now is which laws they have broken and where their campaign finances have come from, and we’ll find that out after the campaign. But they’re a shell company that’s a money-laundering front and I have absolutely no doubt they’ll be shown to be every bit as feckless as their predecessors in Ukip were.
These comments were despite the fact that the week before, the Electoral Commission had investigated the Brexit Party’s accounts but, in the words of Nigel Farage at the time, had “not found a single misdeed by the Brexit Party of any kind at all.”
Farage: Electoral Commission Behaviour Shows Establishment Is ‘Rotten to the Core’ https://t.co/LLiCf8COBi
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 21, 2019
Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice threatened to sue Mr Smith for defamation, and the pair exchanged solicitors letters which told Smith that Tice and the party had been “deeply affronted by the accusations”. Mr Smith initially refused to retract his comments as The Times reported in May, when he faced proceedings at the High Court brought by Mr Tice.
In a statement seen by Breitbart London Monday, Smith apologised for and withdrew the allegation and revealed he would be paying legal costs. He said:
Having reflected upon this following a complaint from Mr Tice, I apologise unreservedly to him and withdraw my allegation. I am happy to state clearly that I do not have any evidence to support such an allegation. I spoke in the heat of the moment and I am happy to set the record straight.
I have agreed to pay a sum in damages to the Help for Heroes charity and I have agreed to pay legal costs.
Responding, Tice said that while he and the Brexit Party respected the rights of others to “take a different view” on politics, it did not extend that to “false claims” about how the party, and those who run it, operates.
The apology comes as the Brexit Party continues to ride high in the polls. Breitbart London reported Sunday the party had just topped its third consecutive national opinion poll of voting intentions for the Westminster Parliament — a significant development for a new insurgent party in a race where established parties have long enjoyed an entrenched advantage.