A day after Britain was meant to leave the European Union there is more finally more news on the police investigation into Vote Leave.
Evidence which could lead to a criminal charge led against the pro-Brexit campaign – led by Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Dominic Cummings – has been handed to the criminal prosecution authorities.
The Metropolitan Police had been criticised for taking almost 16 months to compile a file of evidence to hand to the Crown Prosecution Service, but a day after the UK was meant to leave the EU there has been finally an update.
The police reportedly handed details about the case to the CPS last month, and are now seeking further legal advice on how to proceed.
In 2018 the Electoral Commission found that Vote Leave broke electoral law by overspending during the EU referendum, after handing £675,000 to pro-Brexit group BeLeave to pay AggregateIQ for Facebook advertising. By doing this it avoided the legal spending limits. Both groups deny any wrongdoing.
In March this year Vote Leave dropped its appeal against the commission’s findings, after being fined over £60,000 by the regulator. Vote Leave claimed they did not have the financial resources to challenge the ruling.
BeLeave founder Darren Grimes had faced a £20,000 fine – but successfully won an appeal citing “errors of fact, the law and unreasonableness”.
Despite no formal announcement, a spokesperson for Scotland Yard said: “On Thursday, 17 Oct 2019 the MPS submitted a file to the CPS for Early Investigative Advice in relation to the second investigation, which followed a referral by the Electoral Commission on 19 July 2018 and concerns Vote Leave and Be Leave.”
Open Democracy reports it is unlikely that any further information will be given during the general election campaign which runs until December 12th – especially given the politically sensitive nature of the case.
Those involved in Vote Leave included Michael Gove, Steve Baker, Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings and Theresa Villiers, as well as the DUP’s Nigel Dodds.
The unofficial Leave.EU campaign also faced a police investigation over its spending during the 2016 referendum, but Scotland Yard dropped the case in September, saying there was “insufficient evidence” to justify further criminal investigation.