Vote Leave spent up to the hilt during the European Union referendum campaign and allegedly donated to others, in order to spend even more. The Electoral Commission failed to find sufficient evidence, but Vote Leave campaigners have tweeted some stuff which looks damning and there is more floating about on the internet.
The Good Law Project is determined to get the Electoral Commission to re-open the investigation. The Good Law Project Press Release
A letter to the Electoral Commission has been sent Letter to Electoral Commission – Dropbox PDF and the first £35,000 raised by crowdfunding. This prepares the case, to get to permission stage. It seems like permission to go to court must have been granted, as the crowdfunder is looking for the stretch target. At 09.10.17 with 20 days left, £40,590 of £80,000 had been raised.
So what happens if the case is won ?
The judge would order the Electoral Commission to re-open the investigation and re-analyse the evidence and possibly look for more.
The Electoral Commission got police forces looking into electoral fraud in the 2015 election and it was deemed by the Crown Persecution Service (CPS) that there was sufficient evidence to go forward with a trial, for Craig Mackinlay JP MP, the MP for South Thanet. He stands trial in May 2018.
If found guilty, Craig Mackinlay would lose his job as an MP and be unable to hold public office for some years. He would be fined and as a convicted criminal, would not be able to continue as a Justice of the Peace. Many countries would also refuse him entry eg USA and Canada.
If the Electoral Commission and CPS decided to put members of Vote Leave campaign on trial, they might face the same sort of potential problems as Craig Mackinlay.
Companies House – Vote Leave Ltd shows that 22 of the 26 company officers of Vote Leave Ltd, have resigned. RemainerAction is not a law website and cannot say whether those resignations protect the directors from prosecution over any overspending if found.
There are prominent names on the list, including former MP Gisela Stuart and Nigella Lawson’s father, Lord Lawson.
Dominic Cummings has deleted his Twitter account since the letter and the Vote Leave website has been deleted also.
It’s not just the directors, former and/or current who may eventually be prosecuted if the Electoral Commission is forced to re-investigate. It could be others involved, such as Steve Baker MP.
If the crowdfund gets a judicial review and that confirms Electoral Commission has to re-open the case, that puts pressure on the Electoral Commission to really investigate thoroughly. Pressure too on the police forces and CPS, not to brush anything under the carpet.
Donating to this crowdfund doesn’t stop Brexit in itself. It could lead to prosecutions of prominent Leavers, being on trial before the world. It could lead to any lies about overspending being exposed, and also the motives for doing so. It could put a spanner in their careers for a few politicians. It would make anyone found guilty, a criminal.
So, although this crowdfund won’t directly stop Brexit, it would expose a lot of the lies and motives behind the funding of the Vote Leave campaign. It could blow their credibility out of the proverbial water.
But first, the money needs to be raised to get a judicial review and then we watch it play out.