Step Forward Ben Bradshaw, Open Democracy and Newsnight!
We became aware that BBC Newsnight and Open Democracy were working together on a story featuring identical questions intended to show that I was not wealthy enough to have afforded my donations to the Brexit campaign. The only conclusion they could draw was that we were funded by “Dark Russian Money”.
The finding(s) of the Newsnight report were the equivalent of firing an arrow into a wall and painting a target around it, using a selection of facts that suited their particular agenda.
They had no visibility into my finances as a successful investor of over 25 years.
Newsnight aired the allegations on BBC 2, followed shortly afterwards by Open Democracy’s report funded by a group of Remain supporters including George Soros.
Mr Bradshaw then popped up in Parliament to ask a question about “Dark Russian Money”, creating public and media interest.
The Electoral Commission decided to announce the investigation on the morning of Prime Minister’s Questions, when the same Mr Bradshaw appeared again to ask a question about Dark Money. The matter was then extensively covered in the media with much fanfare.
Politics and the Westminster Swamp!
Of course, it turns out that Mr Bradshaw’s boyfriend was a former Newsnight producer, it also came as no surprise to learn that a board member of the EC had also worked on Newsnight in the past.
BBC Newsnight is packed full of ex-Guardian journalists, the Electoral Commission is not much better. It is a swamp creature created by New Labour and packed full of the flotsam of British Politics: ex-MPs from all parties, former diplomats and political placemen from local government, including a former CEO of a Labour-run council.
They sit on such bodies as the BBC Trust, Channel 4, Channel 4 Wales, the Arts Council, the list goes on, MBE, OBE, Sir, CBE etc.
10/10 of the Commissioners are fully signed up “Remainers” with links to EU think tanks. One sits on the same committee as Carl Bildt and two ex-European Commissioners.
It really is quite incredible that an organisation that exists to ensure fair play in elections should be packed full of ex-MPs and ex-council leaders – jobs for the political boys!
Questions for the Commission Relating to Mr Bradshaw
Given the timing of the release of the EC investigation on the morning of PMQs, we believe the EC collaborated with Mr Bradshaw and we would like to know the following:
- How many times did Mr Bradshaw meet the Commission in the run up to the announcement of this investigation?
- We would also like to request copies of the email correspondence between the Commission and Mr Bradshaw.
- What evidence did the EC have to start the investigation with, other than the sources mentioned above?
- Why hasn’t the Commission announced investigation(s) into the Vote Leave and Stronger IN campaigns where media and public interest is equally strong?
There is a concerted political effort by Remain MPs to claim people were misled by “numbers on the side” of a bus or that the campaign was funded by cash from Russia or somewhere else overseas.
The IN Campaign threatened emergency budgets, economic doom, armed conflict in Europe, reduced house prices and rising interest rates, with help from the Treasury, the BOE, the CBI and many others.
The Electoral Commission has stated that paid and unpaid work should be disclosed on election returns, so can you confirm how you treat the contributions from these bodies to the IN Campaign?
The Government also leant on the Electoral Commission to allow its leaflet, which cost taxpayers £10m, to be sent to every member of the public advising them to “Vote Remain”. It also said the Government would implement the will of the British people.
The Stronger IN campaign was funded by Goldman Sachs, among a number of US Banks, together with numerous large and powerful corporations. Do none of these connections seem worthy of investigation?
I am proud of the fact that the Leave.EU campaign was funded by myself, Peter Hargreaves and donations from the British public in huge numbers.
Our campaign hired an accountant and an internal auditor, who prepared the returns on an arm’s length basis. We even took the time and care to consult with the EC whilst preparing the returns. The entire spending process was also overseen with legal advice from a QC specialising in political processes and the returns (reportable and non-reportable expenditure) were independently audited by Burton Sweet Accountants to ensure it complied with EC rules.
We have called for a Judge-led inquiry to oversee a review of the finances of all the referendum campaigns (we can’t wait to see the results) and repeated these questions: why have you chosen to only target the Leave.EU campaign and what evidence exists to warrant such an investigation?
Finally, since the first investigation is over 200 days old and we have supplied all of the requested information, can you inform us when you expect to conclude this matter? Don’t you think you should have finished off the first one before embarking on the next?
You can read a PDF version of Mr Banks’ letter by following this link.