In Brief

Leave.EU fined £70,000 for breaking electoral laws during EU referendum

Chief executive Liz Bilney faces police probe after pro-Brexit group failed to disclose £77,380 in expenditure

The campaign group Leave.EU has been fined £70,000 for breaches of electoral law during the EU referendum campaign, with the group’s chief executive referred to the Metropolitan Police over spending irregularities.

The Electoral Commission handed down the penalty – the maximum fine it’s able to issue – after announcing the findings of their investigation on Friday.

The pro-Brexit group, which was separate from the official Leave campaign fronted by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, was found to have delivered incomplete and inaccurate accounts of its outgoing expenditure during the EU referendum campaign. Its spending was found to have exceeded the statutory limit of £700,000.

Leave.EU reportedly failed to include at least £77,380 in its spending return, but the Electoral Commission believes the overspend may have been considerably higher than this, Sky News reports.

Leave.EU chief executive Liz Bilney has now been referred to the Metropolitan Police after the Electoral Commission said it had reasonable grounds to suspect she “knowingly or recklessly signed a false declaration accompanying the Leave.EU referendum spending return”.

The London Evening Standard writes that the group, which was endorsed by former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, also inaccurately reported three loans worth £6m it received from its founder, the millionaire and arch-Brexiteer Arron Banks.

Banks’s response to the findings was combative, with the businessman threatening to take legal action against the commission.

“We view the Electoral Commission announcement as a politically motivated attack on Brexit and the 17.4m people who defied the establishment to vote for an independent Britain,” he said, adding: “We will see them in court.”

Recommended

Deal or no deal: showdown Brexit talks resuming in Brussels
Brexit trade talks to resume between the European Union and the UK
In Depth

Deal or no deal: showdown Brexit talks resuming in Brussels

‘The civil service is to a significant extent a law unto itself’
The street sign for Whitehall
Instant Opinion

‘The civil service is to a significant extent a law unto itself’

The plans for Prince Philip’s funeral
Prince Philip
The latest on . . .

The plans for Prince Philip’s funeral

Are crown representatives the next ‘lobbying timebomb’?
David Cameron is facing a government probe into his lobbying for Greensill Capital
Today’s big question

Are crown representatives the next ‘lobbying timebomb’?

Popular articles

15 most expensive English towns outside of London
Virginia Water, Surrey
In Depth

15 most expensive English towns outside of London

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 15 April 2021
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 15 April 2021

TV crime dramas to watch in 2021
Sally Lindsay stars in Channel 5’s seaside thriller Intruder
In Review

TV crime dramas to watch in 2021