Opinion: The UK's election watchdog ruins lives - it's time for reform

Darren Grimes was fined £20k by the Commission

Monday, July 22, 2019

Founder of pro-Brexit youth group BeLeave, Darren Grimes, says the Electoral Commission has subjected him to "years of hell" and is calling for reform of the quango. These are his views and not talkRADIO's.

The Electoral Commission, after three investigations, decided that I had ticked the wrong box.

They said that BeLeave didn't exist, that I had registered as Darren Grimes, not BeLeave.

The judge looked at this form that I had supposedly ticked wrong and said he could not make heads or tails of it either. He decided to quash everything.

You can't imagine the weight that I feel has just been lifted off of my shoulders after three years of hell.

I was expecting to go bankrupt. I wouldn't have been able to fight this had it not been for an average [crowdfunding] donation of £30 from about 3,000 people. I will be eternally grateful to them.

I don't want to get my tiny violin out, but my first political memory was when I asked my mam what her proudest moment was. She said her proudest moment was when she bought a house because she had something to pass on.

So when she offered to sell it to pay for my my legal costs, I started crying my eyes out.

The Electoral Commission has wasted half a million of taxpayers' cash on a witch hunt against me. That is half a million quid pursuing a £20,000 fine.

We have got this quango which is judge, jury and executioner.

You have got to look at them and think 'Are they fit for purpose?', and my conclusion is that they absolutely are not.

It is time that Parliament looked at this again and decided to reform it.

Lord Adonis agreed with me that the Commission wasn't fit for purpose. I don't agree with him on much, but on this we are like singing birds.

It is time to reform this awful quango which ruins people's lives.

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