Professor bob Watt, an expert in electoral law from the University of Buckingham, has made a complaint about “undue influence” to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Under electoral law “undue influence” includes the use of “a fraudulent device or contrivance” to “impede or prevent or intend to impede or prevent the free exercise of the franchise”. The eccentric Professor “bob” – he insists on the lower case ‘b’ – claims there were “instances where the leave campaigns continued to make assertions of fact that were knowingly misleading”. In particular the famous £350 million claim.
He says his “primary aim in seeking prosecution is to try to restore some integrity to our democratic processes.” Good luck with that…
This is beyond quixotic, Vote Leave CEO Matthew Ellliott will simply explain that £350 million is equivalent to the gross weekly payment, not the net weekly payment once the rebate and other transfers are taken into account. Therefore the headline figure is true before those qualifications. Any reasonable person examining the claim – which was widely contested – would understand how the figure was arrived at. In the debates Michael Gove and others conceded that the net figure was less.
Professor “bob” has had success before – he was one of the people behind the election petition against Lutfur Rahman cronies. In that case there was out and out political corruption. Are we seriously expecting judges to rule on the phrasing of political slogans?