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Monday, April 01, 2019

Former chair of Vote Leave refuses to apologise for breaching electoral law

In the midst of an unnatural silence from those Tory Ministers and possible Tory leadership contenders who were involved in running the law-breaking Vote Leave campaign, the BBC turned to its former chair for comment on the £61,000 fine for electoral offences committed during the Brexit referendum.

As the Independent reports, Gisela Stuart, a former Labour MP, refused to apologise when challenged to do so on the BBC’s Andrew Marr. Instead she fell back on a number of lame excuses, claiming that her campaign had been outspent by Remain, that they no longer had the data to sustain an appeal, and that the legal advice received at the time indicated that the campaign's actions were within the law.

In fact the Electoral Commission found that they had acted outside of the law and it would be reassuring if these high-profile and leading politicians could at least acknowledge that.

The law needs to be clarified and revised to ensure that the sort of abuses perpetrated by Leave campaigners during the referendum campaign can be stamped out. Importantly, the Electoral Commission need to be able to act immediately any abuse comes to light and not months after the fact, so as to ensure that any unfairness in the process caused by cheating is stamped out.
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