Vote Leave fined for Brexit campaign funding breach



London - Britain's electoral watchdog on Tuesday said the official Vote Leave group had failed to declare its cooperation with another group during the 2016 Brexit referendum campaign, imposing fines and reporting its conduct to the police.



 
The Electoral Commission's report adds to the controversy over political campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union and comes amid growing calls from lawmakers for a second vote on Brexit.
"We found significant evidence of undeclared joint working between the lead leave campaigner, Vote Leave, and the campaign group BeLeave," the commission said in a report.
It said it was "satisfied beyond reasonable doubt" that all spending by BeLeave and its founder, Darren Grimes, was "incurred under a common plan with Vote Leave."
The BeLeave spending, including 675,315 pounds (899,000 dollars) for services from data firm Aggregate IQ that was reported by Grimes, should have been treated as incurred by Vote Leave, the commission said.
It said Grimes and Vote Leave official David Halsall were reported to the police "in relation to false declarations," with fines of 61,000 pounds imposed on Vote Leave and 20,000 on Grimes.
Vote Leave, fronted by former foreign secretary Boris Johnson and Environment Secretary Michael Gove, has also been accused of misleading claims and stoking fear and anti-immigrant sentiment among voters.
In May, the commission also fined Leave.EU, which was led by former United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage, for "multiple breaches of electoral law" in the funding of its Brexit campaigning.

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Tuesday, July 17th 2018
(dpa)
           


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