Labour Accused of Accepting Illegal Foreign Aid

Labour and Momentum have been accused of accepting illegal foreign donations during the election campaign, with the Tories reporting both to the electoral commission and demanding an urgent investigation. Read the letter in full here

Despite Labour constantly pointing their own fingers at supposed ‘dark money’ coming in from abroad to influence elections, new evidence shows Labour and Momentum have received support from the Bernie Sanders-supporting Democratic Socialists for America who have been running phone banking sessions for the party from five US states. Not surprising given how similar they are – the presidential hopeful even nicked Corbyn’s slogan

Such activity – also being donated by the Party of European Socialists – is illegal as it’s being undertaken by overseas corporate bodies with no connection to the UK, and there is no indication of where the money is coming from. Only the second most worrying foreign donation Labour have accepted this week, following the Russian-originated unredacted trade documents…

mdi-timer 9th December 2019 @ 4:25 pm 9th Dec 2019 @ 4:25 pm mdi-comment Comments
Electoral Commission “Monitoring Compliance” of Non-Party Campaigners

The Electoral Commission have just sent us this statement:

“In order to maintain voter confidence, it is important that all parties and campaigners comply with the rules and campaign responsibly. Ahead of final confirmation, we will shortly publish updated guidance for candidates, political parties and non-party campaigners to help them comply, and we will monitor compliance throughout. As in every election, we will share donation reports during the campaign and spending reports after the campaign, so voters can see how parties and campaigners are funded and how they spend their money.”

Following on from this morning’s story about Momentum fundraising in excess of the legal spending limits, without having registered, we put 3 questions to Momentum’s press office:

  1. Can you confirm the position with Electoral Commission registration?
  2. Has the Labour Party officially authorised Momentum to spend money as part of their campaign?
  3. If not, what do you propose to do with the funds raised over the lower limit? (Was £40,000 in 2017)

No response from the comrades as yet…

mdi-timer 30th October 2019 @ 2:45 pm 30th Oct 2019 @ 2:45 pm mdi-comment Comments
NCA Concludes Banks Didn’t Break Law

The National Crime Agency has concluded that Arron Banks and Leave.EU did not commit a criminal offence after the Electoral Commission referred allegations to them.

The NCA has full access to bank transactions and found nothing illegal or untoward. Carole Cadwallader’s absurd conspiracy theories have once again been found to have zero credibility – she should make a settlement offer this afternoon…

The conclusion reads as follows:

The NCA investigation has concluded that:

  • Mr Banks took a loan from Rock Holdings Ltd, a company of which he is the ultimate beneficial owner. He was legally entitled to do so.
  • Mr Banks was legally entitled, in his capacity as an individual, to release these funds to Better for the Country Ltd, by instructing another of his companies, Rock Services Ltd, to make the transactions on his behalf.
  • Rock Holdings Ltd was not involved in these transactions in a manner which contravened PPERA.

The NCA has found no evidence that any criminal offences have been committed under PPERA or company law by any of the individuals or organisations referred to it by the Electoral Commission. It will therefore take no further action against Mr Banks, Ms Bilney, Better for the Country Ltd or Leave.EU in respect of this specific matter.

Despite successive recent defeats, the Electoral Commission have refused to back down, saying, “We urge the UK’s governments to act on those recommendations to support voter confidence”, today’s Electoral Commission defeat is another example of how it simply isn’t fit for purpose…

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mdi-timer 24th September 2019 @ 9:01 am 24th Sep 2019 @ 9:01 am mdi-comment Comments
Electoral Commission Not Appealing Darren Grimes Case

After keeping everyone guessing for weeks about whether they were going to blow even more taxpayers’ money on trying to appeal against their comprehensive defeat in the Darren Grimes case, the Electoral Commission have finally decided that they will not be appealing. Today was the deadline for them to appeal, they have confirmed to Guido that they aren’t.

It finally draws a line under three years of their vindictive pursuit of one young Brexit campaigner, with the Electoral Commission resorting to trying to string Grimes up on a technicality after failing to find anything substantive over the course of multiple investigations. Without the generous support of Guido readers, Brexit hero Darren would never have been to challenge their perversion of justice in the first place. Grimes can now rest easy, meanwhile the pressure on the Electoral Commission is continuing to mount

mdi-timer 9th August 2019 @ 5:41 pm 9th Aug 2019 @ 5:41 pm mdi-comment Comments
Kate Hoey Calls for Electoral Commission to be Disbanded

Labour MP Kate Hoey has called for the Electoral Commission to be disbanded after the “travesty of justice” over the way they handled the Darren Grimes case. Incredibly, the Commission are still considering an appeal against the judge’s decision despite their case being comprehensively dismantled. Blowing hundreds of thousands more of taxpayers’ cash in vindictive pursuit of one campaigner…

As Hoey says, clearly there does need to be a body that oversees elections. The highly partisan members of the current Commission and the asymmetric way they have dealt with the two sides in the referendum since means there is no confidence left in its abilities. Time to start again from the ground up…

UPDATE: Tory MP Craig Mackinlay has backed Hoey’s call to disband the Electoral Commission:

“Couldn’t agree more with @KateHoeyMP. The @ElectoralCommUK has made too many mistakes, hounded too many innocent people (I should know), given too much incorrect advice, changed its mind repeatedly, made interpretations of the law ‘on the hoof’. It has no further worth.”

mdi-timer 7th August 2019 @ 10:51 am 7th Aug 2019 @ 10:51 am mdi-comment Comments
Electoral Commission Grilled Over Darren Grimes Cock-Up

The Electoral Commission had to face two Parliamentary Select Committees today after their humiliating defeat in court by Darren Grimes last Friday. Craig Mackinlay – who knows Electoral Commission incompetence only too well, took Chief Executive Bob Posner to task over their decision to relentlessly pursue Grimes while failing to fully investigate Remain campaign spending irregularities. Posner mumbles something about following those “strands” and “maybe” fining a couple of groups. They did nothing of the sort

Instead Posner makes clear that the Electoral Commission are still considering appealing against the Darren Grimes judgement despite having already spent half a million of taxpayers’ cash on the case, although Posner points out that part of that was on the Vote Leave aspects of the case. The High Court having previously found that the Electoral Commission caused the problem in the first place by giving Vote Leave incorrect legal advice

It’s worth looking at the specifics of the Grimes case. Guido was in the courtroom:

  • The Commission’s case against Grimes himself was nothing to do with the spending limit issue around Vote Leave. So they went after him on a technicality instead…
  • The Commission’s first charge was that he had not filled a form in correctly to register as an ‘unincorporated association’ rather than an individual. An issue they didn’t flag at all in their first two investigations into Grimes – which found nothing.
  • They then slapped a second offence notice on him for subsequently submitting an “over-complete” spending return. Kafka-esque.
  • The judge found their form itself was highly confusing and that Grimes had filled out the majority correctly, and to the extent he hadn’t it didn’t matter. The dispute centred around a single box…
  • The judge also found that the Commission had essentially constructed their case the wrong way round. In effect they assumed Grimes’s guilt first and then challenged him to prove his innocence beyond reasonable doubt.
  • This led them to exclude a large amount of evidence in Grimes’ favour. Precisely the opposite of how the law is meant to work.
  • The judge also ruled that even if they hadn’t been wrong on the offences themselves, the maximum £20,000 fine was still disproportionate. It was vexatious.

The full judgment is yet to be published, but the outcome of the case was clear. The Electoral Commission weren’t just defeated, their whole case against Grimes was thoroughly debunked. Their QC James Eadie didn’t even bother to turn up to hear the judgment. The fact that their apparatchiks are now considering dragging it out and blowing even more taxpayers’ money just to try to save face is beyond belief…

mdi-timer 23rd July 2019 @ 7:10 pm 23rd Jul 2019 @ 7:10 pm mdi-comment Comments
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