The director of the official campaign for the departure of Great Britain from the European Union, Vote Leave, has today denied that his organisation had committed irregularities in the run-up to the referendum in June 2016.
The reason is the forthcoming publication of a report from the British Electoral Commission, in which an overrun of the expenditure ceiling and violations on the electoral law would be determined.
According to director Matthew Elliott, the electoral commission will denounce in its report that Vote Leave has tampered with the accounts. “Their initial conclusion is that we have exceeded the expenditure ceiling, that we donated to another group during the campaign, which we should not have done”, he said on Sky News.
Central to the report is a donation of more than 600,000 British pounds from Vote Leave to believe, a youth campaign that also promoted the Brexit. In reality, however, that amount would have been used for the benefit of Vote Leave, namely to pay the services of a data platform to harass voters with targeted publicity messages.
If the amount had been registered with Vote Leave, the campaign would have exceeded the permissible expenditure ceiling of GBP 7 million.
According to Elliott, however, his campaign respected “the letter and the spirit of the law”. He believes it was legitimate for Vote Leave to work alongside other action groups and “encourage them in their activities”.
The Electoral Commission itself is displeased that Vote Leave opts for the flight and has made the provisional conclusions of the report public. The committee calls the decision “unusual” but ensures that the ongoing procedure does not come under threat. She will publish her final report “as soon as possible”.
Socialist MP Chuka Umunna, who campaigned to stay in the European Union, said on Twitter the “lies” and the “deceit” of Vote Leave. He thinks the report has “enormous implications”.
“Vote Leave won the referendum with a 4 percent difference, but they have exceeded their expenditure ceiling by 10 percent,” he complains. On 23 June 2016, 52 percent of British voters voted for a departure from the European Union.