Cambridge Analytica whistleblower: Vote Leave mutilated UK constitution by cheating to Brexit victory

Posted On: 
27th March 2018

The vote for Brexit was a “mutilation” of the UK constitution because Vote Leave "cheated", the whistleblower at the centre of the Cambridge Analytica scandal has declared.

Ex-Cambridge Analytica employee Christopher Wylie appeared before the DCMS select committee today
Credit: 
PA Images

Christopher Wylie accused Vote Leave of having won fraudulently and said voters may not have plumped for Brexit without the alleged use of nefarious spending tactics.

The campaign stands accused of colluding with other anti-EU campaigns by funnelling them money and directing where it was spent.

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But senior Vote Leave figures - including now-Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and campaign chief Dominic Cummings - have completely denied the allegations.

Mr Wylie came to the fore after he said his former employer Cambridge Analytica harvested scores of Facebook profiles for user data in the run up to the 2016 US presidential election.

Today he told MPs a connected firm - Aggregate IQ - was used by Vote Leave to “launder money” via other pro-Brexit groups so it could overspend.

Two students running BeLeave received some £625,000 which went to the data firm, while the DUP and Veterans for Britain also sent it vast sums of cash.

“It makes me so angry because a lot of people supported Leave because they believe in the application of British law and British sovereignty,” Mr Wylie told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee today.

“And to irrevocably alter the constitutional settlement of this country on fraud is a mutilation of the constitutional settlement of this country.

“You cannot call yourself a Leaver, you cannot call yourself somebody who believes in British law and win by breaking British law in order to achieve that goal.”

He added: “I think it is completely reasonable to say that there could have been a different outcome in the referendum had there not been - in my view - cheating.”

And he argued: “If you cheat on an exam you get a fail. If you cheat on the Olympics you lose your medal. You shouldn’t win by cheating.”

'TOTALLY ILLEGAL'

Mr Wylie told the committee AIQ had boasted that its referendum win was “totally illegal”. And he said the firm was set up by Cambridge Analytica and inherited its “culture of total disregard for the law”.

He said it had worked around the world in political campaigns and had used hacked material and peddled footage of people being tortured and killed to intimidate voters in a Nigerian race.

Committee chairman Damian Collins said he could publish as early as tomorrow evidence handed to him by Mr Wylie that apparently implicates the firms in wrongdoing.

It comes after former Vote Leave campaigner Shahmir Sanni said the Brexit team cheated in the referendum by telling himself and fashion student Darren Grimes how to spend the cash that went to BeLeave.

Giving other campaigns donations is legal practice but only if the campaigns do not collude and are handed the cash with no strings attached.

Mr Johnson - who was the leading light of the Vote Leave campaign - has said the claims it broke spending rules are “utterly ludicrous”.

And Mr Cummings - thought of as the mastermind behind the Leave victory - has branded the claims "factually wrong, hopelessly confused, or nonsensical".

Meanwhile, questions have been raised about whether the Remain campaign colluded with allies during the referendum.