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Wed, 15 July 2020

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Arron Banks refuses to give evidence to Commons fake news committee

Arron Banks refuses to give evidence to Commons fake news committee
3 min read

Arron Banks has accused MPs of a "witch hunt" as he announced he will no longer be appearing before a Commons committee investigating fake news.

The former Leave.EU boss said the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee was biased because none of its members had voted for Brexit.

His snub comes after Dominic Cummings, who was part of the Vote Leave campaign, also refused to give evidence to the committee probe.

In a letter to committee chairman Damian Collins, Mr Banks - who had been due to appear on 20 June - accused it of conducting a "witch hunt" against Leave-supporting groups.

The row stems from controversy over the alleged harvesting of personal data by research firm Cambridge Analytica and whether that had any impact on the EU referendum result.

Campaign group Fair Vote Project has brought legal action in America against Eldon Insurance and Big Data Dolphins, two firms controlled by Mr Banks, claiming they had improperly transferred personal data in tie-up with the University of Mississippi.

But in his letter, Mr Banks said: "We believe the actions of the committee amount to collusion with a pro-EU campaign group in order to create 'Fake News'.

"I am sure you will appreciate the irony of the situation that a committee that is meant to be looking at the role of fake news on politics, is actively supporting the actions of such a partisan group.

"We will be reporting yourself and the people involved to the appropriate House of Common authority for colluding with the Fair Vote Project & investigating whether the 'Parliamentary privilege' you enjoy might be revoked as a result.

"It is perfectly clear that the committee, which comprises only of Remain supporting MPs is conducting a co-ordinated “Witch Hunt” of Leave groups, involving the Electoral Commission & the Information Commissioner's Office."

Damian Collins said the snub would not deter his committee.



But Kyle Taylor, Director of The Fair Vote Project, said: "The Fair Vote Project has been committed to transparency since its inception and we are simply seeking the truth, as is the ICO and the DCMS select committee.

"The Court in Mississippi, the DCMS committee, the ICO and the Electoral Commission are all seeking answers to legitimate questions. We believe Banks and Wigmore can provide them."