Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has written to the Electoral Commission, calling on it to urgently investigate the Brexit Party’s fundraising process.
Speaking in Glasgow later today, he will say:
Nigel Farage says this election is about democracy. Democracy is fatally undermined if unexplained, unreported and thus undeclared… campaign finance – from whom and from where we do not know – is being used to influence the very elections that are at the heart of our democratic system
Now Mr Farage heads a new Brexit Party, which is making questionable claims about the true source of its funding at a time when the Electoral Commission has warned of the dangers of multiple, small, anonymous donations being a cover for dirty money.
The former PM’s comments come after Scram News exclusively published questions from a leading barrister about the Brexit Party’s donations system. Stemming from the report, hundreds of people have joined a Scram campaign to write to the Electoral Commission, calling on action to be taken now.
Referencing reporting by the Mirror and Byline, barrister Jolyon Maugham explained how the Brexit Party’s online fundraising system prevents payments of over £500, and collects virtually no information about each donor. In effect, the Brexit Party could be receiving donations from anyone, anywhere, without knowing.
A political party may disregard the source of donations under £500, but Maugham believes that the Brexit Party’s system may be encouraging large donations to be atomised into smaller, £500 chunks. If this is the case, and the Brexit Party doesn’t declare the source of these multiple donations, they may be breaking electoral law.
Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme this morning, Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice said: “I don’t sit in front of the PayPal account all day so I don’t know what currencies people are paying [us] in.”
Brown will also use his speech to support calls for the European Parliament to investigate Nigel Farage’s undeclared personal funding from Arron Banks following the referendum. Channel 4 News last week revealed that Farage had been bankrolled to the tune of £450,000 by his Leave.EU counterpart.
Join Gordon Brown by calling on the Electoral Commission to investigate Brexit Party funding NOW. Hit the button below.
Commenting on reports about the Brexit Party’s ability to ensure donations received via its website are from a permissible source, an Electoral Commission spokesperson said:
“The Brexit Party, like all registered political parties, has to comply with laws that require any donation it accepts of over £500 to be from a permissible source. It is also subject to rules for reporting donations, loans, campaign spending and end of year accounts. We have already been talking to the party about these issues.
“As part of our active oversight and regulation of these rules, we are attending the Brexit Party’s office tomorrow to conduct a review of the systems it has in place to receive funds, including donations over £500 that have to be from the UK only. If there’s evidence that the law may have been broken, we will consider that in line with our Enforcement Policy.”