The Electoral Commission has announced an investigation into the Leave.EU campaign’s role in the Brexit referendum.
Leave.EU’s campaign spending will come under scrutiny in the investigation, after an assessment raised questions about whether they had breached campaign spending rules.
In a statement, the Electoral Commission said “the investigation is focused on whether one or more donations – including of services – accepted by Leave.EU was impermissible; and whether Leave.EU’s spending return was complete.
“The time taken to complete an investigation varies on a case-by-case basis. Once the investigation is complete, the Commission will decide whether any breaches have occurred and, if so, what further action may be appropriate, in line with its Enforcement Policy.”
The Commission claims to be an independent body which oversees elections and regulated political finance in the UK, but Leave.EU’s founder, Arron Banks, today questioned their motives, calling them “an official arm of the Remain campaign”.
— Darren McCaffrey (@DMcCaffreySKY) April 21, 2017
Leave.EU was not recognised as the official leave campaign during the referendum – the designation was given to Vote Leave – but played a pivotal role through digital and leaflet advertising.
But the campaign may be punished if any breaches are found. Last month, the Electoral Commission fined the Conservative Party £70,000 following an investigation into their general election 2015 campaign expenses.