In Brief

Sky News viewers furious over Darren Grimes appearance

BeLeave founder says he is ‘proud not to be an expert’ following outcry over his debut as news pundit

TV viewers have responded with anger after Brexit activist Darren Grimes appeared on Sky News this morning to review the newspapers.

Grimes founded the youth-focused BeLeave campaign during the EU referendum but was fined £20,000 and reported to the police by the Electoral Commission last July over a breach of election spending rules.

The watchdog said it had evidence that BeLeave had coordinated with fellow campaign group Vote Leave when Grimes’ group spent more than £675,000 with digital data company Aggregate IQ. This put Vote Leave over its legal spending limit of £7m and should have been declared.

Vote Leave launched an appeal after being fined £61,000, while Grimes set up a crowdfunding page to raise £100,000 to challenge the verdict, which he insists is “wrong in both fact and law”.

Returning to the public arena today, Grimes - now digital manager at the Institute of Economic Affairs think tank - appeared on Sky News show The Papers to discuss topics including Brexit, employment and cannabis.

He supported the Daily Mail over its front page accusing “incompetent MPs and hard Brexit zealots” of making the UK a “laughing stock”, with Grimes adding: “I’m wondering what we did wrong to deserve the politicians that we have got.”

But unimpressed viewers took to Twitter to question why he was being given a platform. 

Grimes hit back, saying “I don’t have a degree so I can’t have an opinion, apparently. To be honest mate, I’m proud not to be an ‘expert’! We need more voices from places like County Durham.”

In a message posted prior to his TV appearance, however, Grimes admitted that he hadn’t “a sodding clue what’s going on”. 

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