For democracy to work fairly and effectively, all campaigners and parties must operate on a level playing field; no one can be above the rule of law.
We are concerned politicians and ex-politicians, Tom Brake MP, Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb, Molly Scott Cato MEP, Caroline Lucas MP, Ben Bradshaw MP and Fiona Mactaggart who believe in accountability and that is why we are asking for your support in our legal action.
The issue of campaigning expenses is important to our democracy and the purpose of the laws is to provide an equal playing field so that the system does not favour those with the deepest pockets.
What our case is about
Last year, the Electoral Commission published two reports in which they found that individuals involved in the 2016 European Union Brexit referendum campaign had broken the law on campaign spending limits and transparent and accurate spending reports. Three individuals and two campaigns were found to have committed these offences, with the Electoral Commission using the full force of its powers to impose the highest fines permitted by statute.
In their reports, the Electoral Commission specifically drew attention to the fact that it had found, beyond reasonable doubt, that electoral offences had been committed. The electoral offences that the Electoral Commission found were breached mirror criminal offences under the same statute. In line with their Enforcement Policy, the Electoral Commission referred the matter to the Metropolitan Police Service. In September of last year, the Metropolitan Police confirmed that they had received over 2,000 documents from the Electoral Commission detailing why they believed these offences had been committed.
The Metropolitan Police have been in possession of this information for over 11 months. To date, no decision has been reached as to whether any of these individuals should be charged. The test they have to consider is in 2 stages: Is there enough evidence? The answer must be a resounding yes, as the Electoral Commission has already found failings and irregularities. The second stage test is: Is it in the public interest to prosecute? We believe yes! This is necessary so that there is confidence in the rule of law and democratic processes of our country and so that the law is not broken with impunity. No reason has been given for this substantial delay by the Metropolitan Police. That is why we are taking legal action: to prompt the police to action and to explain why nothing has been done.
The steps we have taken:
We have instructed Bindmans LLP and have a legal team, led by Saimo Chahal QC (Hon), and barristers Schona Jolly QC of Cloisters chambers together with Joanne Cecil, Garden Court and Ruardiah Fitzpatrick, Cloisters.
We need your support. We have had a letter drafted called a letter before claim – the first step towards taking legal action which we will send today to the Metropolitan Police challenging their delay in investigation and seek an explanation as to their failure to reach a charging decision.
Why we need to raise funds
We will come back to you at the next stage with more information and will set out the next steps and the timetable. At this stage we need to know what is happening and the role of the various parties and what they are doing such as the CPS, the National Crime Agency and others.
What you can do to help:
Thank you very much and look out for our updates! We will supply you with all the legal documents our lawyers prepare so you can follow the progress of the case.