The Electoral Commission says it is investigating Arron Banks in relation to donations and loans made during the referendum, specifically looking at Better for the Country Limited, the second largest donor to any of the referendum campaigns, which gave a total of £2,359,842.76 to a variety of leave-backing groups including Grassroots Out and UKIP. Banks is a director of Better for the Country Limited. The Commission described the scope of the probe:
“Whether or not Better for the Country Limited was the true source of donations made to referendum campaigners in its name, or if it was acting as an agent. Whether the recipients of its donations were given the information required by PPERA in respect of the donor. What steps the recipients took to verify the identity and permissibility of Better for the Country Limited as a donor. Whether or not Mr Banks was the true source of loans reported by a referendum campaigner in his name. Whether those individuals and entities involved in that arrangement acted in accordance with PPERA. Whether any individual facilitated a transaction with a non-qualifying person.”
Looking for Roubles?
Banks has responded to the news characteristically, “Gosh I’m terrified”. The real problem for Banks is that he is currently trying to float other interests on the stock exchange. He won’t want a quasi-judicial investigation hanging over him…
Arron Banks and his slick-haired sidekick Andy Wigmore left no stone unturned in their bid to win the Leave designation during the referendum. A new book reveals how a UKIP-Communist pact attempted to win the Electoral Commission round. Wigmore, a former Tory smoothie turned purple rosette-wearing Kipper, infiltrated the New Communist Party of Britain, becoming a member in order to secure the party’s backing for Grassroots Out. Alas somehow the alliance of Reds, purples and George Galloway was not enough to beat Vote Leave to the designation. The tale is told in ‘The Brexit Club‘ by Owen Bennett, which is out today and worth a read especially if you’re a UKIP enthusiast. There were always rumours that GO were sympathetic to the Russian worldview…
Grassroots Out’s unforgettable lurid green merchandise has been a sartorial highlight of the referendum campaign so far. Fluorescent ties have been spotted regularly around the necks of Peter Bone and Tom Pursglove, while Philip Hollobone has even sported a luminous sports jacket. GO didn’t get the designation, but fear not – the gear can now be yours, for free! Everything must GO from the campaign shop, with the extensive list of available merch including:
Grassroots Out say:
“please let us know if you would like to load your car up to take back to the constituency”
Own your piece of referendum history…
March 17, 2016
President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama,
On June 23, citizens of the United Kingdom will decide on whether or not to leave the European Union in an historic referendum.
It is a vote of profound consequence that will decide whether matters of economics, trade, and security are best handled in conjunction with the broad needs of twenty eight member states or the direct concerns of the people of the United Kingdom.
With so much at stake, it is imperative that the question of exiting the European Union is not one answered by foreign politicians or outside interests, but rather by the British people who must ultimately live with change or the status quo.
The benefits of a truly independent United Kingdom begin with the optimistic prospects of a country that can thrive without the obstacles of tariffs and trade restrictions imposed by distant and unaccountable bureaucrats; but also include the responsible and respectable handling of our country’s border policy amidst the ongoing migrant crisis.
Faced with a vote of “Leave” or “Remain” the approaching referendum also puts the matter of national destiny in the hands of the citizenship: Are we better served tethered to the needs and restrictions of the European Union or would an amicable break from the EU permit a surge in industry and innovation that would further bolster the U.K. as an economic force?
In the coming months the British public will evaluate the merits of a “Leave” or “Remain” vote and issues of national sovereignty must be decided exclusively by the people of the United Kingdom.
While it is understandable that a sitting U.S. president feels the obligation to speak in the interest of the United States, it must be advised that even a passive diplomatic recommendation in the matter of our national decision will receive the opposite of the intended effect.
The referendum vote is an act of democracy in its most direct form, and the question of whether or not to leave the EU is a rare political topic that is not owned by any one political party. This is a chance for the British people to choose the path of their country. Interfering in our debate over national sovereignty would be an unfortunate milestone at the end of your term as President.
As fellow elected representatives, we would therefore ask that you abstain from any intended advocacy in the matter of the approaching referendum, and allow democracy to take its course. We would therefore respectfully ask that you refrain from further politicizing this debate by intervening in our approaching referendum and instead allow democracy to take its course.
Peter Bone Member of Parliament
Kate Hoey Member of Parliament
Tom Pursglove Member of Parliament
Kelvin Hopkins Member of Parliament
Sammy Wilson Member of Parliament
Nigel Farage Member of the European Parliament
The feeling within UKIP this afternoon is that Farage and his team are carrying out a scorched earth policy against anyone associated with Vote Leave, even targeting ‘Kippers who have not publicly endorsed his preferred campaign, Grassroots Out. Guido has been passed an email sent to all candidates by Farage’s Welsh fixer Sam Gould. It tells them they will be reported to the party if they do not back GO:
As per several emails you will have received from the party, we are 100% supporting GO Grassroots Out. As per these emails this Saturday 5th March is a national action day and we will require every branch and every candidate to be out campaigning for GO. I will be reporting directly to the party exactly which candidates have been involved in an action day this Saturday.
Add this to the sacking of Vote Leave affiliated Suzanne Evans and Peter Reeve this morning and it’s clear the party is turning the thumbscrews on its candidates. Why are they doing this? There has been considerable movement among UKIP councillors since the GO Galloway debacle, Douglas Carswell has tweeted that over 400 of UKIP’s 500 councillors now back Vote Leave. The sackings and the email to candidates are a warning shot to other ‘Kippers thinking about going the Suzanne Evans route…
UPDATE: GO-supporting David Sprason, the chairman of UKIP councillors, disputes the Carswell figure and claims 90% of UKIP councillors back GO.
Guido has unearthed some rather surreal 90s footage of prominent Grassroots Out advocate Kate Hoey eating snails with Lenny McLean and a young Ronnie O’Sullivan. McLean was a champion bareknuckle fighter once dubbed Britain’s hardest man, and O’Sullivan would go on to be one of the greatest snooker players of all time. It looks to Guido like Hoey knows how to pick a winner: a good omen for the referendum…