Vote Leave: Election Offences

Cabinet Office written question – answered on 24th April 2019.

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Photo of Stewart McDonald Stewart McDonald Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Defence)

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the recent report of the Electoral Commission into the activities of Vote Leave, whether the Government has plans to set up a judge-led public inquiry to investigate the alleged fraud committed by Vote Leave during the EU referendum 2016.

Photo of Kevin Foster Kevin Foster Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

There are no plans to establish a public inquiry. The independent Electoral Commission is responsible for ensuring that elections and referendums are run effectively and in accordance with the law. It regulates the spending of, and donations and loans, to political parties and other campaigners.

It is not acceptable for any organisation to breach electoral procedures – and it is regrettable that fines have been levied on multiple groups on both sides of the referendum campaigns. Pro-Remain groups outspent pro-Leave groups by £4 million in the referendum campaign.

With 17.4 million votes to leave the European Union, more people voted for Brexit than have ever voted for anything else in the United Kingdom. Almost three quarters of the electorate took part in the referendum. The result was a bigger popular vote than won by any government in history. The will of the British people must be respected and delivered. The public delivered a clear verdict and that is what the Government is implementing.

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