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Police deny claims Vote Leave investigation was delayed by ‘political sensitivities’ over Brexit


Police have denied allegations that “political sensitivities” have delayed a probe into potential legal offences dedicated by pro-Brexit marketing campaign teams.

London’s Metropolitan Police is but to decide on whether or not to launch a legal investigation into Leave.EU, Vote Leave and BeLeave, months after the instances had been referred by the Electoral Fee.

In response to a letter from a Inexperienced member of the European Parliament (MEP), Commander Stuart Cundy, of the specialist crime department, stated officers didn’t obtain proof together with greater than 2,000 paperwork till 7 September.

“These paperwork are being assessed by specialist investigators, supported with recommendation from the Crown Prosecution Service, with the intention to make an knowledgeable choice as as to whether a legal investigation is required,” he stated.

“There was reporting that the MPS enquiries have made no progress, inferring this was as a result of ‘political sensitivities’. That isn’t the case.”

Commander Cundy added: “There was no contact from any authorities consultant making enquiries into the standing of the MPS enquiries.” 

The senior officer stated the one strategy from any politicians, political events or officers had been to induce Scotland Yard to undertake a wide-ranging investigation into the European Union referendum.

He careworn that referrals from the Electoral Fee do “not routinely imply a legal offence has been dedicated” and added: “It’s completely crucial we assess the evidential materials that’s accessible with the intention to make an knowledgeable choice as as to whether there are issues that require a legal investigation.”

Vote Go away whistleblower Shahmir Sanni requires legal investigation in electoral spending allegations

Commander Cundy stated the Metropolitan Police will make its choice public however didn’t give a deadline for it.

A spokesperson for the Electoral Fee confirmed that police obtained the required proof for the investigation final month.

“The Electoral Fee concluded its investigation into Go away.EU on 11 Might and into Vote Go away on 17 July,” she added. 

“In each instances we instantly referred the accountable particular person for every organisation to the Metropolitan Police. On the identical time, we knowledgeable the police of the referrals and defined that the proof was prepared for them to gather as quickly as they made the required routine knowledge safety request. The police made that request in late August and picked up the proof information in early September.”

The watchdog fined Go away.EU £70,000 by the Electoral Fee for incorrectly reporting what it spent on the EU referendum. 

It exceeded its statutory spending restrict and delivered incomplete and inaccurate spending, mortgage and transaction returns, together with over providers from an American technique agency, the fee stated.

It concluded that there have been “affordable grounds to suspect that the accountable particular person for Go away.EU dedicated legal offences”.

Two months later, the Electoral Fee discovered that Vote Go away and BeLeave broke electoral legislation by failing to declare joint working or adhering to authorized spending limits. 

Darren Grimes, the founding father of the BeLeave marketing campaign group, was discovered to have dedicated two offences and was fined £20,000. 

David Halsall, the accountable particular person for Vote Go away, was additionally referred to the Metropolitan Police in relation to false declarations of marketing campaign spending.

Earlier this month, greater than 70 politicians of all events wrote to police and the Nationwide Crime Company calling for legal investigations into Vote Go away to be pursued.

Molly Scott Cato, a Inexperienced MEP who was among the many letter’s signatories, stated the investigation ought to be a “matter of urgency” because the UK prepares to go away the EU in March. 

“I welcome the reassurance from the Metropolitan Police Service that political sensitivities will not be impeding this investigation, however progress is way too gradual,” she stated. “The truth that it took so lengthy for proof to achieve the Met Police from the Electoral Fee undermines the sense that this important investigation is being taken critically. We’d like this to be handled as an pressing matter. 

“If crimes have been dedicated and prosecutions are prone to comply with, this might change minds over Brexit. We’d like this data forward of the date the UK is because of go away the EU, in order that it might probably kind a part of the general public debate on this very important choice.”     


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