Leave.EU tycoon Arron Banks: Britain should have voted Remain instead of unleashing demons of Brexit
Arron Banks today said Britain should have voted to stay in the EU instead of “unleashing demons” in the fallout from Brexit.
The controversial tycoon made the eye-popping comments during a live TV grilling over allegations he broke a series of electoral rules in the referendum.
Mr Banks is under investigation by top cops over concerns he was "not the true source" of around £8m he spent on his campaigning outfit, Leave.EU.
He also faces fresh accusations that he used his insurance business to boost the Leave vote and later lied to MPs about it in parliament.
But Mr Banks came out fighting today in an interview for the BBC Andrew Marr show, in which he said he would have preferred to avoid the bitterly-fought fallout from the Brexit vote.
“The corruption I’ve seen in British politics - the sewer that exists and the disgraceful behaviour of the Government over what they are doing with Brexit and how they are selling it out - means that if I had my time again I think it would have been better to have probably remained and not unleash these demons,” he said.
He insisted he followed all the rules in seconding his insurance staff to work for Leave.EU and said he had informed the Electoral Commission of the arrangement.
And he insisted he was “of course” the source of all the cash he spent on the Leave drive, although questions remain over which parts of his business empire the money was generated from.
"There was no Russian money or interference of any type, I just want to be absolutely clear about that,” he said.
On Thursday Mr Banks was referred to the National Crime Agency, which said it had opened a probe, along with Leave.EU chief executive Liz Bilney.
According to the Observer, leaked emails suggest staff from his firm Eldon and Rock Services contacted companies for material apparently for use in the Brexit drive and discussed sharing data.
One ex-worker told the paper: “I made it absolutely clear that I didn’t want to work on the political stuff. I wasn’t comfortable with it. I didn’t want to be complicit in it.
“There were quite a lot of spats about it. People were frozen out if they refused to work on it.”
Meanwhile, the Open Democracy website has published evidence suggesting there was some crossover between insurance and political staff working for Mr Banks.
Damian Collins, the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, said: “If Eldon employees were being paid to work on the campaign during the regulated period, it should have been a declared expense.
“We asked him directly if he’d used his insurance employees to work on the campaigns and he said they didn’t.”