The Metropolitan Police have concluded that allegations of criminality by the Leave.EU campaign during the European Union referendum do not meet “the criminal standard of proof” and the force will be taking “no further action” against it.
Britain’s flagship police force concluded that, while there had been some “technical breaches” of electoral regulations by Leave.EU with respect to spending returns, the campaign had taken action to address them, and there was “there is insufficient evidence to justify any further criminal investigation.”
Remain-backing outfits such as the Liberal Democrats had also been sanctioned by the Electoral Commission for spending returns for which “In some cases no invoices or receipts were provided at all, and in others some were provided which were inadequate, such as credit card statements, or were incomplete”, receiving a near-maximum £18,000 fine — although far less media attention than Brexit-backing outfits such as Leave.EU, which have faced constant but seemingly baseless allegations of Russian-collusion, use of so-called “dark money”, and assorted criminality, in what some Brexiteers believe has been part of concerted effort to delegitimise the Leave campaign’s upset victory in 2016.
ElCom has spent thousands of taxpayers' cash attacking Brexiteers. Very bad organisation!
— Leave.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) September 13, 2019
“It was right to investigate the allegation [against Leave.EU], however following detailed enquiries it became apparent that the nature of potential breaches of the regulations, the criminal standard of proof required in court and the actions taken by Leave.EU to adhere to the regulations, mean that it is now appropriate to take no further action,” explained Commander Alex Murray, of the force’s Central Specialist Crime team.
Arron Banks, the pugnacious business tycoon who co-founded Leave.EU alongside Richard Tice — who has since moved on to serve as chairman of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party and the Leave Means Leave pressure group — was characteristically punchy in his statement responding to the end of the investigation, which he said had been he product of “disgraceful political collusion between the Electoral Commission, the Damian Collins ‘Remain biased’ [Department for Culture, Media, and Sport] Committee, and a number of leading Remain MPs”.
“We will be writing to the Prime Minister today demanding a public inquiry into the actions of the Electoral Commission,” Banks said, adding that he would be “calling for the resignation of Damian Collins and the CEO of Electoral Commission as a result of today’s news.”
Banks excoriated the management board of the Electoral Commission as “third-rate politicos and people who have shown clear political bias”, noting: “The chairman himself described Brexit as a ‘panoply of Eurosceptic nonsense’ and one of the EC board called for a second referendum!”
He also noted the “huge personal toll” which the “witch-hunt” against Leave.EU had taken against Liz Bilney, the businesswoman who served as Leave.EU’s responsible person for regulatory purposes, and called on “MPs like Stephen Kinnock [and] Ian Lavery [to] apologise to Liz and the 1.5 million supporters of Leave.EU they tried to smear.”
So pleased for @lizbilney. Shocking behaviour by @ElectoralCommUK and another reason for it to be abolished and reconstituted Will @BBCNews and @SkyNews and @Channel4News give this the same coverage they did to the original inquiry #msm https://t.co/IU4jFhe3VI
— Kate Hoey (@KateHoeyMP) September 13, 2019