Leave.EU broke electoral law but not a criminal matter, say Met Police
PUBLISHED: 15:09 13 September 2019 | UPDATED: 13:40 14 September 2019
The Metropolitan police has closed its investigation into Leave.EU, saying the campaign had made “technical breaches” of electoral law but it would not be pursuing the case.
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The case was raised into Leave.EU and its CEO Liz Bilney when the Electoral Commission (EC) found that the group had breached spending rules and passed a file to the police.
The police have affirmed that "it was right to investigate the allegation", while the EC has reiterated that it had had "reasonable grounds" to raise the case.
But Leave.EU founder Arron Banks has called for the resignation of Damain Collins, chair of the DCMS committee, and the CEO of the electoral commission.Commander Alex Murray said: "It was right to investigate the allegation, however following detailed enquiries it became apparent that the nature of potential breaches of the regulations, the criminal standard of proof required in court and the actions taken by Leave.EU to adhere to the regulations, mean that it is now appropriate to take no further action."
Banks has gone on to call it a "disgraceful political collusion" and says he will demand a "full public investigation".
He called the EC's board "third-rate politicos" and "people who have shown clear political bias".
A statement from the EC said: "It is right that regulatory and enforcement authorities fully investigate concerns about potential breaches of the law.
"We believed there were reasonable grounds to suspect that Ms Bilney had committed the offence of knowingly or recklessly making a false declaration about the Leave.EU spending return. This warranted thorough investigation and we therefore notified the police.
"As the Metropolitan Police note, this does not alter the findings of the Commission's investigation from May last year, which found Ms Bilney to have committed four offences, including of submitting an inaccurate spending return and of exceeding the spending limit. Leave.EU appealed these findings, but the Commission's position was upheld in court."
The Met's investigation into the spending returns of Vote Leave and BeLeave remains ongoing.
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