Does Vote Leave's fine undermine Brexit? Lord Adonis and Stewart Jackson debate

Does Vote Leave's fine undermine Brexit? Lord Adonis and Stewart Jackson debate

Andrew Adonis, left, and Stewart Jackson. Image: Getty/Stewart Jackson/Facebook

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Brexiteer Stewart Jackson and Remainer Andrew Adonis clashed on the No Nonsense Breakfast Show this morning over the news that Vote Leave has been fined £61,000 for breaking electoral law.

Asked by Julia Hartley-Brewer if they thought it undermined the campaign result, the pair were split in their views.

Jackson, a former chief of staff of David Davis - who resigned as Brexit Secretary following Theresa May’s Chequers plan - said the findings by the Electoral Commission are “effort from the establishment”.

Jackson: ‘Remain spent £9m on a leaflet’

“No I don’t think it undermines the result,” he said.

“I think what you’ve seen here is an effort from the establishment - given that many of the electoral commissioners are on record as having stated opinions hostile to Brexit in one way or another - you’re seeing a situation where they’re going after one [organisation].

“This is after £9m of public money was spent on a leaflet [the government commissioned pro-EU leaflets for every household in the UK at a cost of £9.3million], the whole of the establishment was thrown against the Leave campaign.

“They’re going after one side and not looking in detail at the very significant number of occasions where the Remain campaign coordinated different parts of the Remain effort, and this has been documented on social media for a number of years.”

Adonis: ‘There’ll be a people’s vote’

But Labour peer Lord Adonis - who thinks parliament’s Brexit wrangling will lead to another vote - said he thought it was right the Leave campaign was held to account in case similar happened in future.

“The reason why what happened two years ago is so important is that we’re clearly heading towards the people’s vote on the Brexit treaty,” he said.

“It’s clear as last night showed in the House of Commons that there is no majority now for the Brexit policy, that being the case, the people will need to decide what happens when Theresa May negotiates her Brexit policy.”

Yesterday in Commons, the government accepted four amendments to the Customs Bill, leading some MPs to say the Prime Minister had “caved in” to the Brexiteers.

“What’s crucial when we come to that people’s vote - which I think will happen next year - is that the people who broke the law last time and told lies to the British people, manipulated spending limits, perhaps even in some cases were conduits for money coming from Russia [are held to account].”

The Electoral Commission did not find any evidence of links with Russia in their investigation into Vote Leave, but the founders of a separate pro-Brexit campaign, Leave.EU, did admit to meeting with Russian officials.

Leave.EU was also fined £70,000 for overspending.