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Vote Leave chief Dominic Cummings could face contempt charge for refusing to address fake news inquiry

The director of the main Brexit campaign is dealing with being held in contempt of parliament after repeatedly refusing to provide proof to MPs concerning the Fb information row.

Dominic Cummings, the former Vote Go away chief, has been issued with a proper summons to seem earlier than the Digital, Tradition, Media and Sport Committee on Could 22, after declining a number of invites to talk at its faux information inquiry.

Tory committee chairman, Damian Collins, stated he was “dissatisfied” that Mr Cummings had not responded favourably to the requests, as he began the method which may lead to Mr Cummings being held in contempt of parliament, 

Nevertheless Mr Cummings, the strategist credited with driving the Brexit marketing campaign, accused the committee of “grandstanding” and stated he had had been clear that he would give proof as soon as an Electoral Fee inquiry was over.

It comes as Cambridge Analytica boss Alexander Nix agreed to be grilled by MPs over the Fb information scandal subsequent month, after whistleblowers accused the agency of misusing the non-public information of hundreds of thousands of customers throughout Donald Trump’s election marketing campaign.

“We’re dissatisfied that Dominic Cummings has not responded positively to our requests for him to seem,” stated Mr Collins.

“His reasoning that he should delay giving proof as a result of ongoing investigations merely doesn’t maintain up, contemplating that Alexander Nix, Jeff Silvester and others concerned have agreed to co-operate with the committee’s investigations regardless of at present being topic to varied investigations.

“Reporting the matter to the Home is a primary step which may lead to a choice contempt of Parliament has been dedicated, a really critical final result for the person.”

MPs will deal with “quite a few inconsistencies” in Mr Nix’s proof when he was grilled by the committee earlier this yr, Mr Collins stated.

The political consultancy agency introduced it was shutting down this month amid worldwide outrage over allegations it misused non-public Fb information to focus on voters. Cambridge Analytica denies any wrongdoing.

Vote Go away turned caught up within the scandal when whistleblowers stated it used the promoting agency Mixture IQ (AIQ) to place out focused messages throughout the EU referendum in 2016.

AIQ’s chief working officer Jeff Silvester informed the committee on Wednesday that it had beforehand labored for Cambridge Analytica’s guardian firm SCL however denied any hyperlink with the agency itself.

There aren’t any formal sanctions the Home can impose if Mr Cummings is present in contempt, because it has powers to order imprisonment or advantageous individuals – however these powers are “untested in current occasions”, a 2012 report discovered.

The row may additionally set an fascinating precedent for the committee, which has unsuccessfully tried to compel Fb boss Mark Zuckerberg to provide proof to its inquiry.

Responding to the claims, Mr Cummings pointed to an entry on his weblog posted every week in the past, wherein he accused the committee of “grandstanding, not truth-seeking”.

He stated he had been informed by attorneys to “hold my entice shut” till the conclusion of an Electoral Fee probe, however was comfortable to provide proof after this.

“I stated that in the event that they issued a summons as an alternative of discussing attainable dates like affordable individuals, then it could be apparent they don’t seem to be taken with pleasant co-operation to uncover the reality,” stated Mr Cummings.

“So I can’t give proof to this committee beneath any circumstances. I’ll to different committees relying on behaviour.”

Mr Cummings will probably be portrayed by Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch in an upcoming drama concerning the Brexit marketing campaign, it was introduced this week.

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