Leave.EU Come out in Support of Boris’s Deal

Aaron Banks’s Brexit campaign, Leave.EU, has declared its support for Boris’s new Brexit deal. The endorsement comes as Farage maintains he would rather have an extension than leaving on October 31 with the deal. Paying billions more to the EU in pursuit of a pure Brexit that is out of reach…

Leave.EU – who are among the most hardline Brexit campaign groups, and a week ago called Angela Merkal a ‘kraut’ – are the latest surprise backers of the PM’s deal, falling in line just after Stuart Rose, the Chairman of Britain Stronger in Europe. The endorsement might prove crucial to the final hardline Tory Spartans yet to decide whether to back the deal…

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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Jamie Oliver’s Twizzling U-Turns on Brexit

After spending most of the last three years trying to blame the poor performance of his overpriced, mediocre restaurant chain on Brexit, Guido was surprised with the news earlier this week that none other than Jamie Oliver had apparently seen the light on Brexit. While Oliver still said he thought Brexit was “a really, really bad idea”, he had decided he now “believes in democracy” and wants us to “get on with it”. He even took up championing a new trade deal with the US. A tear ran down his face. He had learned to love Big Brexit.

Unfortunately it appears his Damascene Conversion has not lasted long, as Leave.EU have found. Following their celebration of the chef’s new-found love of democracy, Oliver’s legal team sent them a cease and desist letter, claiming his pro-Brexit statements are not accurate – despite them being direct quotes from him in an interview with The Times. His U-turn wouldn’t have anything to do with the news that Oliver’s hated turkey twizzlers could be making a comeback at schools in the event of a no-deal Brexit…?

Richard Tice Suing Femi for Libel Over Anti-Semitism Claims

The Brexit-bashing Twitterati have finally been starting to feel the consequences of putting out their endless stream of slurs and abuse against Brexiteers – last week the Guardian paid up in full after defaming Isabel Oakeshott. Now it’s 29-year-old ‘youth activist’ Femi Oluwole who is facing legal action over a series of tweets he put out last week trying to link Brexit Party Chairman Richard Tice with anti-Semitism over a tweet sent out by Leave.EU last year. Tice’s lawyers asked Femi to withdraw the the tweets by Saturday night but he failed to do so, Tice has now initiated formal legal proceedings…

Tice left Leave.EU in June 2016, the tweet Femi was highlighting is from over two years later in October 2018. Last time Tice launched libel action his lawyers Wedlake Bell won him an apology and costs from SNP MEP Alyn Smith and an on-air Newsnight apology. Femi likes to go on about his legal credentials, he’s about to find up whether they stack up in a court of law…

YouGov Debunks Claims of Large-Scale Tory ‘Entryism’

Remainer Tory MPs’ go-to excuse when facing local members angry over flagrant betrayals of their manifesto commitments has been to dismiss it as “entryism”, despite there being no solid evidence for it whatsoever. It suits Remainer Tory MPs to blame Leave.EU rather than unhappy local members. Blame that Arron Banks gleefully accepts

Instead of idle speculation, YouGov have done a rigorous study into Tory members, when they joined the party and why. While a large number of recent joiners did say it was because they wanted a vote in the leadership election, the vast majority were Tory supporters already before they actually joined the party. Leadership contests have always been good recruiting tools for pre-existing supporters who just haven’t bothered to join the party they back:

Whilst recent joiners are more likely to support Boris, even pre-2015 members still overwhelmingly prefer Boris to Hunt by 63% to 37%, so it’s largely immaterial to the final result. There’s simply no evidence that there’s been entryism on any significant scale – newer members may be more ‘Brexity’ but they are still overwhelmingly Tories. Brexit-blocking MPs have no excuse for not listening to the genuine concerns of hard-working local members any more…

Leave EU Fines Reduced on Appeal

On today’s judgment in the case of Leave.EU v Electoral Commission in the Central London County Court, Andy Wigmore says:

“What started out as a witch-hunt by the political establishment in what they thought was the largest political scandal investigating Cambridge Analytica and Goddard Gunster’s alleged involvement in the Leave.EU referendum campaign, has today been proven to be false. Instead, the Electoral Commission fined us on technicalities and an overspend of £50,000, not the £70,000 originally presented by them on £7 million overall spend. The fines were reduced and the Judge accepted the technical breaches were ‘mistakes’ rather than calculated wrong-doings and crucially held there were ‘no findings that Leave.EU had been dishonest.'”

No news from the police investigation yet…

Information Commissioner Crushes Carole’s Conspiracies

Guido readers will be well-versed in Carole Cadwalladr’s various conspiracy theories about how a secret nexus of data companies conspired to rig the Brexit vote. As well as the corrections that would inevitably follow her front page ‘revelations’, buried on page 50 of the next week’s Observer…

In an inconvenient twist for the Orwell Prize-winning journalist, the report out today from the Information Commissioner’s Office has crushed most of her central claims. Terrible when a good story gets undermined by basic facts…

Carole claimed that Leave.EU was working with Cambridge Analytica. The ICO found that there was “no evidence of a working relationship between Cambridge Analytica and Leave.EU” beyond “preliminary discussions”:

“[B]oth parties stated that only preliminary discussions took place, and the relationship did not move forward when Leave.EU failed to attain the designation as the official Leave campaign… Based on our enquiries, testimony and interviews, we conclude that this is indeed the case – there is no evidence of a working relationship between CA and Leave.EU proceeding beyond this initial phase.”

Carole claimed that the Canadian data firm, AIQ, who worked with Vote Leave, was effectively the “Canadian branch” of Cambridge Analytica, although she has since retracted this claim. The ICO scotched this one too:

“Whilst there was clearly a close working relationship between the entities and several staff members were known to each other, we have no evidence that AIQ has been anything other than a separate legal entity… ultimately we have concluded that this was a contractual relationship.”

Carole’s whole conspiracy centered around the notion that AIQ and Cambridge Analytica had shared data in the referendum. In fact the ICO found no evidence that either Cambridge Analytica or its parent company SCL Elections were involved in any data analytics work on the referendum at all:

“We found no evidence of unlawful activity in relation to the personal data of UK citizens and AIQ’s work with SCLE. To date, we have no evidence that SCLE and CA were involved in any data analytics work with the EU Referendum campaigns.”

Meanwhile Vote Leave was given a clean bill of health for its data work with AIQ:

“We know that Vote Leave had a commercial relationship with AIQ. In respect of that work, we have not obtained any evidence that Vote Leave transferred or processed personal data outside the UK unlawfully – or that it processed personal data without the consent of data subjects… Our further investigations into AIQ revealed no evidence of the unlawful processing of UK personal data.”

After massively bigging up the report yesterday, Carole has been unusually quiet on Twitter since it landed, mainly complaining that no-one was paying attention to the “MUCH bigger story” (was it being “deliberately buried”?) and even accusing Buzzfeed – of all places – of doing Arron Banks’ “dirty work”Maybe she’s still feeling a little bit sore after *that* article

Remainers were hoping for an explosive report to blow up Brexit. Instead it revealed that it’s the Remain campaign and the Lib Dems who are under investigation for potential data breaches, while Arron Banks’ looming fines are almost entirely for using his Leave.EU mailing list to flog insurance after the referendum, not for activities during the campaign. The only thing the report blew up was Carole’s conspiracy. She was after all, as Isabel Oakeshott famously said, “chasing unicorns”…

TRG vs Leave.EU

The wet Tory Reform Group is trying to weaponise an attention seeking Leave.EU tweet implying 10,000 of its ‘members’ have joined the Tories. The remainers at the TRG see it as a useful recruitment tool for themselves…

Guido would advise that anyone falling for the TRG/Leave.EU spin should take a look at the full list of things Arron Banks has promised that never happened:

  • Judicial review of EU referendum designation
  • BPopLive
  • Hollywood movie about Brexit
  • Invoicing UKIP £200,000
  • Patriotic Alliance
  • Clacton candidacy
  • Pirate radio station in Clacton
  • Fielding candidates to oust 100 MPs
  • Draining the Swamp at the next election.
  • Bankrolling the Andrea Leadsom leadership campaign
  • Suing Vote Leave’s CEO Matthew Elliott
  • Buying Guido lunch

What Leave.EU has managed to do once again is give ammunition to the ultra-remainers trying to stop Brexit. Anyone indulging him is either an idiot or a remainer.

Damian Collins Wants to Know if Arron Banks Took Moscow Gold

Damian Collins wants to know if Arron Banks took Moscow gold to fund the Leave.EU campaign. Arron wanted to appear in front of the DCMS Select Committee, then he said he wouldn’t go, now he says he’ll see them next week. Collins versus Banks should be fun…

Leave.EU Once Again Hurting Brexit Cause

Guido tries not to give Leave.EU too much attention – that is, after all, what they want. With UKIP on 1% in the polls and Brexit progressing, they need to say increasingly bonkers things to maintain the publicity they crave. Leave.EU were not the official Leave campaign – they are, to coin a phrase, a fringe group who do not represent mainstream Brexiters. It says it all that their graphics tend to get retweeted by more Remainers than Brexiters. Julia is right:

All their output does is help the Remainer cause, as would have been the case if they had won the designation…

Welcome “Westmonster”

Arron Banks is backing a new “anti-establishment” news and comment website to be run by Nigel Farage’s former spinner Michael Heaver. Westmonster” will apparently be “modelled on the Drudge Report”, so expect plenty of external links aggregating Brexit/UKIP news stories. This is Heaver’s second attempt at an aggregator website. Certainly interesting to see if it takes off – Heaver can tap into the social media following from Banks’ Leave.EU so he will be starting with a very decent Facebook presence. The site is not to be confused with the Westmonster which launched in 2007 and went bust a year or so later.

Westmonster will enter the crowded ideological media space ocupied by the likes of Breitbart London and Conservative Woman, offering op-eds and hot takes starting with Farage today. There is a niche for alt-right style viral news and opinion, and as Breitbart have found it brings a lot of trash traffic. Tough to maintain credibility while chasing those sorts of clicks though. So what can readers expect? Links in the Westmonster ‘trending’ section this morning include “Brits want burka banned”, its first blog rails against “wall-to-wall bitching and whining from Remoaners”Guido wishes them well…

Leave.EU-Backed Raheem Had Little Real Support, Despite Social Media Lead

raheem-twibons-ahead
The social media profiles of UKIP’s leadership candidates show Raheem Kassam was far ahead of his rivals before he pulled out this morning. The best indicator of online campaign support was the twibbon, where supporters add a campaign slogan to their social media profiles. Raheem had 1,326 twibbons, dwarfing leadership favourite Nuttall’s 214 – and yet all the signs indicate that Nuttall will win. Despite the online support Kassam admitted this morning that one of the reasons for quitting was he couldn’t raise enough money: “While we raised enough for our deposit, and got over 200 assentors to my nomination, we could not raise enough for this to be more than a digital campaign run from SW1”. What does this tell us about the relative importance of digital campaigning?

This has implications for Leave.EU, the pro-Brexit campaign group set up by multi-millionaire businessman Arron Banks, which backed Raheem. Leave.EU claims their huge social media reach* helped create “an extraordinary mass movement, drawing in swathes of voters neglected by the main political parties.” Banks has hinted that this will be the kernel for a new “people’s movement”. Banks is confusing “likes”, “follows” and casual clicktivism with active support. Leave.EU bought Facebook “likes” essentially by buying traffic.

Digital campaigns which enable commitment; donations, offline meetings, phone banking and membership drives do actually achieve something. Campaigns which generate clicks, petition signings and social flag counts are just virtue signalling. The casual easy click is no more substantive or permanent than what is trending online at any moment. Guido speaks as someone who garnered a million signatures and emails in one campaign, Banks has not got the beginnings of a popular movement, he has captured the virtue signals of a moment…

*As Dominic Cummings rightly points out, Facebook’s algorithms mean that Leave EU’s half-a-million “likes” are just a form of digital dick-waving, they achieve nothing in terms of visibility or extending reach. Leave.EU has less than half as many Twitter followers as @GuidoFawkes

Arron Banks Keen to Bankroll Leadsom Campaign

UKIP donor Arron Banks’ spokesman says he is keen to help out Andrea Leadsom’s leadership campaign in any way possible, including financially. This morning Banks’ Leave.EU group endorsed Andrea after internal polling showed she was their supporters’ choice. Both Tory and Labour Leave.EU supporters say Andrea is their favourite – 30 plus Leave MPs are expected to back her too. Banks’ team quickly released the above graphic and promise further online posters in their inimitable style. Worth noting Leadsom and her husband have money of their own so may not need a bankroller. Though Leave.EU will be telling their million plus social media followers to back Leadsom. She may want to ask them to tone down those ISIS / Orlando / Kalashnikov posters from the referendum campaign…

UPDATE:

Campaign Report: 10 Days to Go

p-o-p-31-6

Leave message: Three quarter of a million new EU citizens now have the right to come to the UK.

Remain message: Gordon Brown says Brexit would be bad for jobs.

Cut through: Nothing really.

Leave social media count: 484,206 likes, 58,937 followers.[…] Read the rest

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Leave.EU on Hook for £500,000 Brexit Gig

east-17-small

Leave.EU’s Brexit music fest BPop Live has suffered a spate of pullouts from its star-studded line-up after the Mirror/Buzzfeed fun police called up the talent and told them it was a political event. They lost their last big name, East 17, yesterday, though Stay Another Day didn’t really work for this anyway.[…] Read the rest

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Vote Leave Say No Merger

dear-me

Once again the two main Leave campaigns are doing their laundry in public. Leave.EU’s Arron Banks has written to Vote Leave blaming their campaign director Dom Cummings for being “the only person standing in the way” of a merger.

“As I have said previously, the only person apparently standing in the way of a formal merger is Dominic Cummings.

[…] Read the rest

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Listen: Leave.EU’s Official Anthem

Let the river run,
Let all the dreamers
Wake the nation.
Come, the New Jerusalem.

Silver cities rise,
The morning lights
The streets that meet them,
And sirens call them on
With a song.

Its asking for the taking.
Trembling, shaking.

[…] Read the rest

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Another Poll Has Leave Ahead

GEGS

Several polls over the last month or so have put the Leave campaign ahead of the Remainers, or at the very least had them neck and neck. This morning ORB has the Leavers up 5 points to 52%, while the Remainers sink by five points to 48%. […] Read the rest

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Farage: Free Movement of People Means Free Movement of Jihadis

Around 1,000 people watched Nigel Farage’s Basingstoke speech on the Paris attacks last night, which was punchy even for him. The UKIP leader wasted no time in immediately declaring to rapturous applause:

“there is a problem with some of the Muslim community in this country… We have a fifth column that we have welcomed in…”

Farage then mocked Cameron’s demands for EU reform as reminiscent of Chamberlain’s Munich Agreement, going as far as to wave a piece of paper around.[…] Read the rest

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#CamsCon: New UKIP Attack Video

UKIP HQ have released a new attack video today to coincide with the launch of cameronscon.com, a site soliciting donations for UKIP’s referendum campaign.

Guido has seen higher production values…[…] Read the rest

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