Electoral Commission Faces Double Grilling from MPs

Guido hears that the Electoral Commission is set to be formally questioned by MPs in the first week of July. Parliament’s Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) will host an accountability hearing with the less than popular quango. Sources tell Guido many who have had experiences with the Commission have written to PACAC ahead of the hearing. It is sure to be one to watch…

In parallel, the Speaker’s Panel on the Electoral Commission is busy scrutinising the work of the Electoral Commission too, with a particular focus on decisions the quango has taken in the past. The panel features a majority of Brexit-voting Tory MPs, many of whom are veterans of dealing with the organisation, its investigations, and its unequal treatment of different candidates. Despite Coronavirus, the Electoral Commission is set to face significantly increased Parliamentary scrutiny this year…

mdi-timer 3 June 2020 @ 14:27 3 Jun 2020 @ 14:27 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Failing Electoral Commission to Bolster Quango With 4 New Jobs

The Electoral Commission is seeking four new full time Senior Advisers. This is perhaps unsurprising at a time when Tory MPs have the inclination and the stonking majority to clip the wings of the organisation, which they consider to be unfit for purpose. Having been founded less than twenty years ago, a sizeable number of Tories can remember when democracy functioned just as well, if not better, without it…

A multiple jobs advert, posted on LinkedIn yesterday, asks “Are you interested in joining an organisation playing a vital role in the democratic process?” ‘Vital’ is not the first word Guido associates with it…

mdi-timer 20 May 2020 @ 15:30 20 May 2020 @ 15:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
V-EC Day As Electoral Commission Finally Defeated

Today is of course VE day, enjoy the celebrations. Darren Grimes and Alan Halsall will be celebrating more than most today, because it sees final victory for them over the biased Electoral Commission. Both Darren Grimes of BeLeave and Alan Halsall of Vote Leave have been written to by the Metropolitan Police confirming it will not be acting on allegations made against them by the Electoral Commission and various Remain campaigners. This marks the very end of a three year ordeal for both of them. Congratulations!

Here’s a timeline of the three year ordeal:

  • 23 June 2016 – UK votes to leave the EU by a margin of 52% to 48%
  • August 2016 – Electoral Commission investigates Vote Leave’s spending for the first time, but finds no evidence of wrongdoing
  • February 2017 – Electoral Commission investigates Vote Leave’s spending for the second time, but again finds no evidence of wrongdoing
  • October 2017 – The Good Law Project, led by Jolyon Maugham, begins proceedings to seek a judicial review against the Electoral Commission’s decision not to open a formal investigation into the spending of Vote Leave and Darren Grimes
  • November 2017 – Electoral Commission investigates Vote Leave spending for a third time
  • July 2018 – The Electoral Commission concludes its investigation and determines that Vote Leave exceeded its campaign spending limit due to joint spending under a ‘common plan’ with Darren Grimes/BeLeave. The Commission fined and referred both Alan Halsall, the responsible person for Vote Leave, and Mr Grimes to the Metropolitan Police
  • July 2018 – Guido helps launch a crowdfunder to enable Darren to fight the Electoral Commission
  • August 2019 – Darren Grimes successfully appeals against the Electoral Commission’s fine of £20,000
  • May 2020 – the Metropolitan Police drop their investigation into Alan Halsall and Darren Grimes

Jolyon, Carole, and the biased Electoral Commission have a lot to answer for. As Vote Leave’s Paul Stephenson puts it “we wish them well“…

mdi-timer 8 May 2020 @ 10:46 8 May 2020 @ 10:46 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Banks Spanks Electoral Commission

Arron Banks and Liz Bilney, the CEO of Leave.EU, follow in the footsteps of Darren Grimes by winning in the High Court against the Electoral Commission. Today the Electoral Commission agreed terms of settlement over the Electoral Commission’s announcement in November 2018 of its referral of Banks and Bilney to the National Crime Agency for further investigation.

The NCA stated publicly on 24 September 2019 that having investigated the matters referred by the Electoral Commission, it found that there was no evidence of any criminal offences having been committed by Banks or Bilney. The NCA further notified the Electoral Commission that its investigation showed that the monies Mr Banks used to fund the loans came from the group of companies of which Mr Banks was the ultimate beneficial owner. Today the Electoral Commission finally admitted it was wrong on all counts:

The Electoral Commission considers it was right to refer this matter to the NCA for further investigation, but confirms that it accepts (a) the NCA’s conclusions that it found no evidence that any criminal offences have been committed under PPERA or company law by Mr Banks or Ms Bilney; and (b) the NCA had not received any evidence to suggest that Mr Banks or his companies received funding from any third party.

All that nonsense about Russians? Nyet.

The official Electoral Commission statement says

The National Crime Agency, after its own investigation, has (i) concluded that there is 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; and (ii) has stated that it has not received any evidence to suggest that Mr Banks and his companies received funding from any third party to fund the loans subject to the investigation, or that Mr Banks acted as an agent on behalf of a third party. The Electoral Commission accepts these conclusions.

The Commission’s case was absolute nonsense. Parliament has oversight of the Electoral Commission, there must be a reckoning. It is not fit for purpose…

mdi-timer 29 April 2020 @ 16:32 29 Apr 2020 @ 16:32 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Tories Spent £650,000 Per MEP in 2019 Euro Elections

With an 80-seat majority under their belt, a new PM and riding high on 54% in polls, it’s easy to forget that just over 10 months ago, the Tories came 5th in the EU Parliament elections. The Electoral Commission has now finally released spending return figures, which show the victorious Brexit Party spent the most, closely followed by the Tories and the Lib Dems. For all their spending, the Tories were left with just four MEPs…

  • The Brexit Party £2,609,834
  • Conservatives £2,600,026
  • Lib Dems £2,468,148
  • Labour £1,556,028
  • The Independent Group for Change £886,681
  • UK Independence Party (UKIP) £643,100
  • Greens £450,260
  • SNP £257,005

These elections, which wouldn’t have happened had Parliament not repeatedly blocked Brexit, cost political parties a total of £11,471,082. They also sealed Theresa May’s fate and made way for Boris…

mdi-timer 3 April 2020 @ 13:00 3 Apr 2020 @ 13:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Sarah Olney’s Mystery Money

Figures published in the Register of Members’ Interests show that during the 2019 general election, Sarah Olney received £55,975 in donations. By law, Olney’s local party was limited to spend just £11,003.55 on her campaign. She raised five times her legal spending limit…

Guido’s sure it wouldn’t have been spent in her ‘throw the kitchen sink’ campaign to win the seat back from Zac Goldsmith, as that would be a clear breach of electoral rules. So where’s the money gone?

See also: Met Say Olney Committed Criminal Offence Over Spending Breach

mdi-timer 3 March 2020 @ 14:02 3 Mar 2020 @ 14:02 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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