Nigel Farage has criticised the Electoral Commission for investigating his party’s fundraising techniques – and claimed staff at Channel 4 News are ‘political activists’.
Without evidence the Brexit Party leader claimed the regulator had been staffed by establishment figures and was not a neutral organisation – and said he believed his party was “more compliant” than any others standing in the European elections.
He also criticised Channel 4 News, claiming its staff were “political activists” which comes out with “tosh” after they broadcast an investigation into Arron Banks’ financing of Farage’s lifestyle.
Discussing his party’s donation system, he told Harriet Line of the Press Association: “I’ve got a team of four qualified accountants looking after our money, our income. I bet we’re more compliant than any of the other parties in this election.
“I’ve crossed with the Electoral Commission before – they are not a neutral organisation, absolutely full of Remainers, full of establishment figures.
“We are about not just leaving the European Union, the Brexit Party is about changing politics for good – getting SW1 and Westminster to reflect the country more broadly and the Electoral Commission are part of that huge reform that is needed.”
Farage said his party was looking into any repeat donations it had received, and claimed the party was sending money back if it was unsure where it had come from.
“I’m not stupid. I’ve set this up to take on the Labour and Conservative parties who, I think, have betrayed the biggest democratic vote in our nation’s history. I know that when you do that the establishment will not come out with a tray of gin and tonics and say ‘well done’.
“I understand how it works. As I say, I’m not stupid, I’ve set this up properly, I’m entirely confident that we are more compliant than any of the other parties right now.”
Farage confirmed reports he would not now not allow interviews with Channel 4 News, saying: “I’m not speaking to them now, they are political activists. They are supposed to be a public service broadcaster, they’re not behaving in that way.
“We’ve no interest in talking to them whatsoever.”
Asked if he was blocking their questions, he said: “If you think I’m funded by Russia, just watch Channel 4 News, because that’s the kind of tosh they come out with regularly, and I’ve just had enough of a series of accusations, in many cases based on nothing.
“This is a two way street – the relationship between people in politics and the media is always going to be a slightly tense one, obviously, but it only works if everybody ultimately has a bit of respect for each other.
“And we as an organisation have at the moment lost respect for Channel 4 News.”
He said Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice had asked to sit down with the broadcaster to talk about the issue.
An Electoral Commission spokeswoman said: “The Electoral Commission is an independent organisation accountable directly to the UK parliament. We have no political bias.
“The selection process for commissioners is conducted by the speaker’s committee on the Electoral Commission.
“The proposal to appoint a member of the commission’s board is subject to consultation with the leaders of each registered political party that has two or more MPs in the House of Commons.”