The Electoral Commission dismisses claims the Remain campaign broke electoral law

Priti Patel

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Priti Patel
source
Reuters

  • The Electoral Commission has rejected allegations that the Remain campaign broke electoral law.
  • Former Conservative minister Priti Patel had accused Britain Stronger in Europe of “joint working” with other Remain campaign groups.
  • The commission did not find sufficient evidence to justify a fuller investigation.
  • Last month the official Leave campaign was fined by the commission for breaking electoral law and referred to the police.

LONDON – The official elections watchdog has rejected a series of claims that the official Remain campaign broke electoral law.

In a statement, the Electoral Commision dismissed claims by former Conservative minister Priti Patel that the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign had been guilty of “joint working” with other Remain campaign groups.

They also declined to open an investigation into whether the campaign had a “common plan” with other campaign groups, saying there was not sufficient evidence to justify a full investigation.

“It was alleged that five campaigners were set up by BSIE and acted under a common plan,” a spokesperson for the Electoral Commission said.

“The Commission has not been provided with, or found evidence for an investigation to be opened.

“Separately, the Commission has previously concluded that extracts from two books published since the referendum that describe daily telephone meetings of certain ‘remain’ campaigners and chaired by BSIE did not meet the threshold for an investigation to be opened. Evidence indicates that the meetings were advisory and did not involve or result in decisions on referendum spending.”

Under electoral law, if a campaigning organisation co-ordinates closely with another campaign group then the spending associated with that campaigning must count towards their own spending limit.

However, the commission found the evidence suggesting this had taken place, which was provided by Patel ,”did not meet the threshold for an investigation to be opened.”

The Commission also dismissed separate allegations that the Democratic Unionist Party had broken electoral law by engaging in “joint spending” with other organisations campaigning for Brexit.

The BBC Northern Ireland programme Spotlight had alleged that the DUP incurred joint spending with other EU Referendum campaigners but did not declare it under a common plan.

However, in a statement, the commission “concluded it does not have grounds to open an investigation into the allegations made by BBC Northern Ireland Spotlight.”

The findings come in the wake of the Commission last month fining the official Leave campaign and referring them to the police for multiple breaches of electoral law.

This is a developing story…