Sat, 13 August 2022

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Official Brexit campaign Vote Leave faces fresh probe by elections watchdog

Official Brexit campaign Vote Leave faces fresh probe by elections watchdog

Emilio Casalicchio

2 min read

The UK elections watchdog has launched an investigation into whether the official Brexit campaign breached spending limits in the EU referendum.

Vote Leave will face an Electoral Commission probe into whether it delivered an incorrect spending return and into a £625,000 wad of cash it gave to fashion student Darren Grimes.

In the days before the vote 23-year-old Mr Grimes then gave the money to a Canadian analytics firm which specialises in targeted online advertising called AggregateIQ.

Veterans for Britain – another pro-Brexit campaign group which took money from Vote Leave and handed it to AggregateIQ – will also face the Electoral Commission investigators.

AggregateIQ was already supplying IT services to Vote Leave but the campaign was reaching its spending limit at the time the last-minute donations were made.

The Electoral Commission assessed the campaign groups in February and March this year but originally decided not to take any further action.

Today it announced the launch of a fresh probe in light of new information which it said gave “reasonable grounds to suspect an offence may have been committed”.

Bob Posner, the political finance director at the Electoral Commission, said: “There is significant public interest in being satisfied that the facts are known about Vote Leave’s spending on the campaign, particularly as it was a lead campaigner with a greater spending limit than any other campaigners on the ‘leave’ side.

“Legitimate questions over the funding provided to campaigners risks causing harm to voters’ confidence in the referendum and it is therefore right that we investigate.”

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