My Lords, I support both the Motions but want to address the second one, or what is behind it: in other words, the role of Parliament.
I have much in common with the Minister. I was a remainer and I accept the vote count of
It is in my view more important to protect Parliament than the Government. A Joint Committee would help considerably in this respect. In fact, the Supreme Court case in some ways helped in respect of protecting the rule of law, and at some point will probably need to do so again. When the people voted on
“I can confirm the Electoral Commission has begun an assessment in respect of Leave.EU’s spending return at the EU Referendum to determine whether or not there are potential offences under the law that require investigation. Our assessment is focused on whether any donation—including services—was made by Cambridge Analytica or Goddard Gunster to Leave.EU; whether those donations, if any, were from a permissible source and whether Leave.EU spending return was complete. Given the high public interest in the returns submitted by campaigners, the Commission will announce the outcome of its assessment in due course”.
I suspect that that response will be made public to others.
Accepting the vote count of
“I don’t give a monkey’s what the Electoral Commission says”,
“We were … cleverer than the regulators and the politicians. Of course we were”.
To me, that is an admission of “cheating”—that they were cleverer than the regulator, the Electoral Commission. The self-confessed cheat Mr Banks is planning to unseat “bad MPs”, via an unregistered organisation. Therefore, Parliament itself is now under threat from dark money, as we have not yet passed the legislation introducing unexplained wealth orders—I suspect that he will be the first candidate for one of those.
Passing these two Motions will send a signal to those who threaten democracy with secret funds and by cheating election regulators. Indeed, it is a wake-up call which, if we fail to answer it, will put Parliament, not the Government, in peril. When I hear a Brexit extremist raise these concerns, I will know the battle of the referendum is over and the battle for Parliament has begun.