5 July 2018
A group of 15 cross-party British MEPs have signed a joint statement arguing that Vote Leave’s illegal spending during the EU referendum campaign justifies a People’s Vote on Brexit.
Yesterday’s leaks of the Electoral Commission report on Vote Leave reveal several counts of breaches of electoral law including an inaccurate return of campaign expenditure, exceeded spending limits and collusion with the student campaign group BeLeave, passing on a donation of £625,000.
The letter was coordinated by Green MEP for the South West, Molly Scott Cato. The UK’s two other Green MEPs – Jean Lambert and Keith Taylor – are also signatories.
Full text of the letter:
The Electoral Commission report leaked yesterday morning found irregularities in the spending return filed by the official campaign for the EU referendum, Vote Leave, and determined that this campaign failed to comply with electoral law.
The comments from Matthew Elliot, CEO of Vote Leave, make clear that Vote Lave has cynically leaked the Electoral Commission report they were given in confidence allowing them to dominate the media and spin the story in their favour.
These allegations are very serious. Vote Leave are accused of colluding with the student campaign BeLeave by passing on a donation of £625,000 illegally during the campaign. They have also made inaccurate returns, filed to provide receipts, and ignored statutory notices.
The international treaty on democratic conduct, the Venice Commission, to which the UK is a signatory, has ruled that campaigning over-spends are adequate grounds for annulling an election result. However, given that we have no domestic remedy in the UK for this occurrence, but given the evidence of breaches of electoral law by both the main Leave campaigns, the mandate for Brexit is seriously undermined.
These new revelations following on from allegations of social media manipulation fatally undermine the legitimacy of the referendum result. We believe that there is a simple straightforward way to address this by supporting the call for People’s Vote on the Brexit deal. Those of us who respect the rule of Law have no need to cheat and have nothing to fear from the people’s judgement.
As directly elected MEPs, with the requirement to act in the best interests of our country, we insist that any final decision to leave the EU is based on an unchallengeable mandate by the British voters.
Jean Lambert (Green)
Molly Scott Cato (Green)
Keith Taylor (Green)
Charles Tannock (Conservative)
Catherine Bearder (Lib Dem)
Seb Dance (Labour)
Catherine Stihler (Labour)
David Martin (Labour)
Mary Honeyball (Labour)
Derek Vaughan (Labour)
Jude Kirton-Darling (Labour)
Theresa Griffin (Labour)
Julie Ward (Labour)
Jill Evans (Plaid Cymru)