Nigel Farage’s former Brexit Party, which has been rebranded following departure from the European Union as the Reform Party, has had its bank account shut down.
Metro Bank has informed the Reform UK by letter that “after careful consideration, we are unable to continue to act as your bankers”.
Former Member of European Parliament (MEP) and current Reform UK leader Richard Tice accused the bank of making the decision “based on politics” and told The Telegraph that he fears for the viability of the party if they fail to secure alternative banking services.
Tice, who took over as leader of the party from Brexit champion Nigel Farage, said of Metro Bank’s decision: “It is absolutely outrageous.”
He added: “We are fifth in the polls. It’s not like we’re some extremist zealots. We got 300,000 votes in the May elections.
“If we believe that we’re a proper functioning democracy, then new disrupters need to be able to operate. You can’t operate if you don’t have a bank account that you can pay bills with.”
The bank claimed that the decision to close the account was made after it was determined not to be “commercially viable” and claimed that their business is “politically neutral”.
Richard Tice rejected this assertion, however, claiming that “millions of pounds” had passed through the account and that approximately £750,000 in party expenditures had gone through the account in the past seven to nine months.
“My hunch is this is a decision based on politics and the difficulty for banks of being involved with politically exposed persons and political parties,” Tice suggested.
Big corporations strike to unbank the right! Wall Street banks freeze political donations, threaten pro-Trump politicians with blacklisting! https://t.co/vcqQcW0NvN
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) January 12, 2021
The future of the Reform Party, which has campaigned against assaults on liberty during the Chinese coronavirus crisis, faces an uncertain future as it was previously rejected by four separate high street banks before signing with Metro in 2018.
Richard Tice said that “they’re a private business, they can do what they want. But it’s pretty grim.”
“In a way I sort of have sympathy with them. The compliance is too difficult. It’s so much easier to tick the box and say it’s not a politically exposed person and ‘no problem, I don’t have to think about it,” he said.
A Metro Bank spokesman said: “We regularly review our customer accounts and close those which are no longer commercially viable. The decision to close the Brexit Party account was made for commercial reasons only. Metro Bank is and will remain politically neutral.”
Figures on the right have increasingly had their financial and banking services targetted by the left, resulting in many activists, such as former Florida congressional candidate Laura Loomer, being “debanked“.
The tactic has also impacted former U.S. President Donald Trump. In the wake of the January 6th Capitol Hill incident, Germany’s Deutsche Bank AG reportedly severed ties with then-president Trump and his businesses.
The bank went on to say that it would not do business with any members of Congress who supported the effort to block the certification of the electoral college vote.
German Banking Giant Deutsche Bank Cuts Ties with President Trump: Report https://t.co/jacEQHB50E
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 12, 2021
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