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Brexit Party under investigation for slow response on data requests

The Brexit Party bus. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The Brexit Party is under investigation by the UK’s data watchdog over complaints that it has not promptly responded to requests for information it holds on voters.

According to Sky News, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) launched the probe after people complained that the party had not responded to subject access requests made around the time of the European elections.

Subject access requests allow people to find out what information an organisation holds on them, under GDPR legislation.

A spokesperson said that the party had received a “flood” of requests and suggested that they were part of efforts from anti-Brexit campaigners.

“During the European elections, there was a coordinated attempt by campaigners to flood The Brexit Party with subject access requests,” the spokesperson told Sky News.

The spokesperson said that the party had responded to the “vast majority” of requests and around 0.2% of them were still being dealt with, but that the deadline set by the ICO would be met.

The ICO told Sky News it would not comment on the investigation.

Pascal Crowe, data and democracy project officer at campaign group Open Rights Group, told Sky News that political parties should prepare themselves for increased public scrutiny on personal data.

“Given the controversies of recent years, all political parties should equip themselves to deal with Subject Access Requests at scale,” he said. “Without this capacity they can expect to see more ICO investigations and fines.”