Met Police to take no further action over Leave.EU spending

Posted On: 
14th September 2019

Brexit campaign group Leave.EU will face no further criminal investigation over its spending during the Brexit referendum due to “insufficient evidence”.

Leave.EU founder Arron Banks denies any wrongdoing

The group were referred to the Metropolitan Police after being fined £70,000 by the Electoral Commission for election law breaches.

In a May 2018 report, the Electoral Commission claimed that Leave.EU had exceeded the spending limit for "non-party registered campaigners" by at least 10% by failing to include over £77,00 in its spending return.

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The report also referred Leave.EU’s chief executive Liz Bilney to the police following its investigation.

Arron Banks, the founder of Leave.EU, has called for an inquiry into the Commission’s actions.

An investigation by the National Crime Agency into the organisation is still ongoing.

A Met statement said: "On 5 August 2019 the MPS submitted a file to the CPS for Early Investigative Advice in relation to the Leave.EU investigation and this advice has now been received.

"It is clear that whilst some technical breaches of electoral law were committed by Leave.EU in respect of the spending return submitted for their campaign, there is insufficient evidence to justify any further criminal investigation.

"Leave.EU's responsible person has been has been told that they will face no further police action."

The force added that investigations into the spending practices of Vote Leave and BeLeave were ongoing.

Alex Murray, the Met Police Commander for Specialist Crime, said: "Following detailed enquiries it became apparent that the nature of potential breaches of the regulations, the criminal standard of proof required in court and the actions taken by Leave.EU to adhere to the regulations, mean that it is now appropriate to take no further action."

The Electoral Commission has also defended its investigation into Mr Banks and Ms Bilney surrounding Leave.EU’s spending.

A spokesperson said: "We believed there were reasonable grounds to suspect that Ms Bilney had committed the offence of knowingly or recklessly making a false declaration about the Leave.EU spending return.

"This warranted thorough investigation and we therefore notified the police."