The official Brexit campaign colluded with a separate youth group, the Electoral Commission has found
Official Brexit campaign ‘broke electoral law’ by coordinating with another group to bust spending limit. Data firm Aggregate IQ used the cash to target enough voters to – a whistleblower claimed – potentially sway the referendum result The Vote Leave campaign has been found guilty of busting referendum spending limits by co-ordinating illegally with another group, a leak of a watchdog’s report says.
The Electoral Commission is expected to fine the official Brexit organisation – fronted by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove – for breaching electoral law.
Its draft report is said to conclude there was collusion with a separate youth Brexit group called BeLeave, led by student Darren Grimes.
A £680,000 donation was passed on which, if recorded as part of Vote Leave’s referendum expenditure, would have taken the campaign’s spending over the £7m limit.
Crucially, the cash was used to pay data firm Aggregate IQ and – a whistleblower claimed – potentially enabled it to precisely target enough voters on social media to have swayed the Brexit result.
Mr Gove refused to comment on the commission’s conclusions, insisting he had not read its report – although it has been passed to Vote Leave, which leaked it.
Matthew Elliott, Vote Leave’s former chief executive has submitted a 500-page dossier to the Electoral Commission rebutting its conclusions, insisting it has not followed due process.
He claimed the watchdog had “listened to one side of the story”, telling the BBC: “We offered to go in for interviews, both at board level and at staff level. They haven’t accepted any interviews from our side.”
Mr Elliott insisted Vote Leave had “acted both within the letter of the law and also the spirit of the law” – and that it was perfectly legitimate for it to “work alongside other groups and encourage them”.
According to the group’s dossier, the commission also found it guilty of making inaccurate returns and failing to submit all invoices and receipts, as well as exceeding its spending limit.
Source: The Independent