Electoral Commission ‘hounded Leave campaigners’, says Tory MP

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Conservative MP Peter Bone has criticised the Electoral Commission for its investigation of Brexit campaigners during the 2016 EU referendum.

The backbench Brexiteer said the elections watchdog had “hounded Leave campaigners” and called for its actions to be reviewed.

He told MPs in the Commons: “There’s been 34 investigations, there has been eight court cases and at least four people referred to the police for criminal investigation - and that has all come to nowt.

“Would the honourable member support a review by the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee (PACAC)?”

Spokesman for the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission, Labour’s Christian Matheson, suggested Mr Bone write to the PACAC chairman.

However, Labour MP for Cardiff West Kevin Brennan said Mr Bone had criticised the regulator because it “had the nerve to enforce the law”, arguing Leave campaigners had been fined for breaking electoral rules.

He added: “Would the committee agree that to try to intimidate an independent, electoral body in this way is more in the tradition of the politicians of Zimbabwe than Britain?”

Last week at PMQs, Mr Bone went further and called on Boris Johnson to abolish the “politically corrupt, totally biased and morally bankrupt quango”.

The Prime Minister said he hoped for those who were investigated that “all those who spent so much time and energy drawing attention to their supposed guilt” would spend as long “drawing attention to their genuine innocence”.

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