Leave.EU fined £60,000 for breaking the law over European referendum

Back in April 2017, the Electoral Commission announced it was investigating the Brexit campaign group Leave.EU over possible breaches of the rules controlling expenditure and finances for the European referendum.

The investigation resulted in Leave.EU being found guilty and last week after an appeal hearing in the county court, the punishment was set at a fine of £60,000.

The Electoral Commission commented:

The court, having confirmed the offences we found that Leave.EU committed, has also confirmed that these offences justified substantial penalties.

We impose penalties to ensure that the rules on campaign finance are complied with, and so that people throughout the UK can be confident in the integrity and transparency of campaign finance. After a robust and detailed investigation, we found that Leave.EU committed serious offences. Substantial penalties were proportionate as a result. Leave.EU’s fine now stands at £66,000. We look forward to receiving the sum in full.

This £60,000 fine for Leave.EU is separate from (and additional to) the £120,000 fine for Leave.EU from the Information Commissioner, also related to Brexit campaigning.

Even so, the size of this fine is likely to raise the question once again of what the maximum fines should be. As the Electoral Commission added:

We are concerned that the relatively low penalties we are able to impose – up to £20,000 per offence – risk being seen as the cost of doing business by campaigners with significant funds. We believe that Parliament should substantially increase the level of penalty we can impose, so we can meet our enforcement aims of compliance and transparency of campaign finance.

A maximum of £20,000 as a fine when election expense limits can run into the tens of millions of pounds is indeed rather lowly.

For a full list of the findings of rule-breaking against Brexit campaigners related to the referendum (now up into double figures) see here.

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5 responses to “Leave.EU fined £60,000 for breaking the law over European referendum”

  1. wel shouldnt that means the vote is then not fair eather as one of the parties cheated. so that means they had more money, that means more cover, what means more peopel convinsed. there fore the vote needs to be redone. as it found that one of the parties cheated. and that might have been led to the vote as we now it.

    • I’m guessing the spelling and grammar on that message was not intentional, but didn’t the wobbly red lines under the words suggest you might have made an error or 10?

      Although, to answer your questions, yes…that is what it would mean had this not been an ‘advisory’ referendum. Unfortunately, this referendum is being viewed as absolute, yet not subject to the same rules and controls that a more formal vote would be subject to. It is to our detriment that we continue to follow this course, but that’s what happens when the country vote in the nutters.

  2. They spent over 1 million pounds more than the Remainers (assuming Remain kept within budget) that was 14% more, and we know there was less than 14% difference between the results.

  3. Chris, I’m guessing the first paragraph of your response to Roy’s message was intended to either ridicule or demean him which rather makes you look aloof. The message he is trying to put over is far more important that the way it is written.
    Many people can’t spell, are dyslexic or simply don’t care about the grammar they use so please consider this before you post in future.

  4. And our Prime Minister , Leader Of The Opposition all seem to have selective vision when faced with these offences

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