Electoral Commission Whitewashes Remain Collusion

The Electoral Commission has today announced that it will not be pursuing Britain Stronger in Europe (BSE) over the five last minute campaigns that Remain campaigners set up in the month before the referendum, into which more than £1 million was funnelled. They concluded that the daily phone calls co-ordinating the various Remain campaigns did not “meet the threshold for an investigation to be opened”, claiming such phone calls were merely ‘advisory’. And it gets worse…

The Electoral Commission claims that videos hosted on the BSE website but paid for by one of those five late registering campaigns did not count as evidence of a ‘common plan’. Did investigators not think to ask BSE how they came across the videos? A reasonable assumption would be that BSE asked the producers for a copy. Did the EC ask to be supplied with any such communications?

Similarly, different media outlets at the time reported different campaigns had funded the videos. The Electoral Commission’s response is that the “evidential weight we can reasonably put on these accounts is limited, as they do not offer reasons for their claims and are contradictory”. But did the EC even bother to ask the authors of the articles who had briefed them these stories? Any competent investigation would realise that the easiest way to discover the reasons for the different media reports would be to ask the media outlets themselves.
BSE used a video from another campaign and passed it off as its own without having to pay for it, and the Electoral Commission rejects the idea that this could be circumventing campaign spending rules.

The Electoral Commission found one part of Priti Patel’s comprehensive dossier to warrant official investigation, namely whether the campaign ‘Wake Up and Vote’ incurred joint spending with the adverting firm that registered as a campaigner, DDB Ltd. Leaving BSE to get away with it…

Whatever you think about Brexit, whatever you think about the referendum, this is objectively a double standard from the Electoral Commission. They have been presented with clear evidence of Remain campaign collusion, and yet claimed it does not meet the threshold. Says it all…




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