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The Brexit Party popped up from nowhere mere months ago and is now contesting over 300 seats at the general election. This is impossible to do without a hefty bank account, but man of the people Nigel Farage has kept the party’s funding largely secret, causing controversy.
However, Scram News has been tracking Farage’s fundraising efforts and can now create a picture of the Brexit Party’s bank account.
Here is everything we know about how the party is funded.
Despite previously claiming that the Brexit Party is funded by a large number of small donations, Farage’s party actually benefits from the wallets of wealthy millionaires,
Christopher Harbone, a former Tory donor who has been linked to five offshore businesses, has donated £3 million to the Brexit Party.
Another big donor is George Farmer, the son of a Tory House of Lords member. Despite being in his late 20s, Farmer has given a whopping £100,000 to Farage’s party since its inception.
In news that will surprise very few people, Farmer was a member of the Bullingdon Club at Oxford University (a society for super rich posh boys, including Boris Johnson and David Cameron, once upon a time). Farmer and his father also bankrolled the Oxford Conservative Association, after it was kicked out of the university for a race row.
The party has also received large amounts from financier Jeremy Hosking and Richard Smith, who has donated to the Tories and UKIP.
As mentioned, Farage claims the Brexit Party is helped by small donations from ordinary members of the public.
This may be the case, but the party’s small donations system has also been called into question, for potentially facilitating illegal contributions.
Issues were first raised this summer, when lawyer Jolyon Maugham explained via Scram News how Farage’s party could have been breaching electoral law.
This is because the party collected virtually no information about donors, not even their country of origin, and accepted payments via PayPal, which is virtually anonymous.
Maugham said that foreign, impermissible donors could have been putting money into the Brexit Party, by breaking up their donations in chunks of £500. Donations under £500 do not have to be registered with the electoral register.
This was consequently confirmed by the Electoral Commission, which found that the party had no adequate way of checking whether a donor had made multiple donations through different bank accounts. It said there was a “high risk” of illegal, foreign donations.
Despite this, the party then created a £100 a-month club that, when it was launched, similarly collected few details about donors.
Most recently, the Brexit Party has launched a new donations system in which the party will match all donations up to a million pounds. It allows foreign donations, including ones donated under the name Vladimir Putin.
It costs £100 to apply to be an election candidate for the Brexit Party. Richard Tice, the party’s chairman, said they received over 3,000 applications before the closing date for the general election.
As a result, the party earned at least £300,000 from would-be MPs. Only a fraction of these people were selected as candidates, and over half of those selected were dropped by Farage, when he decided to get into bed with Boris Johnson.
And talking about getting into bed, the party also asked every prospective candidate to hand over information about their dating history.
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