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Met Police drop case against pro-Brexit campaigners
8 May 2020, 13:30
The Met Police has ended its investigation into two pro-Brexit campaigners following allegations made by the Electoral Commission.
The elections watchdog accused Be Leave founder Darren Grimes and Vote Leave's Alan Halsall of breaking the spending limit law.
Vote Leave paid a £61,000 fine, but denied wrongdoing, while Mr Grimes won an appeal against his £20,000 fine.
After considering advice from the Crown Prosecution Service, the Metropolitan police have stopped pursuing the case.
Last night I found out that @metpoliceuk, after investigation and consultation with @cpsuk, has rejected the trumped-up charges against @vote_leave and me by the kangaroo court that is @ElectoralCommUK. After four hellish years, it's finally over! Thank you for your support! x pic.twitter.com/M7wH4vgm3d— Darren Grimes (@darrengrimes_) May 8, 2020
Mr Grimes stated: "Last night I found out that the Met Police after investigation and consultation with the CPS, has rejected the trumped-up charges against Vote Leave and me by the kangaroo court that is the Electoral Commission.
"After four hellish years, it's finally over! Thank you for your support!
"My ordeal is now over, but questions must now be asked of whether the Electoral Commission is fit for purpose.
"Many of us who voted to leave were not lucky to be born into privilege and money. The Electoral Commission threw the best the taxpayer could afford at me, there must be a reckoning. Can you imagine what the millions that have been wasted on pursuing Brexiteers could've been spent on?
"After three investigations, a court case and a police investigation, I'm delighted that it's all over. But my twenties have been blighted by this; an ordeal that I should never have had to go through.
"I can't wait for lockdown to be over to celebrate with my mam and nana!"
In July 2018, the Electoral Commission fined Vote Leave £61,000, saying that they had exceeded its £7m spending limit during the referendum campaign two years before by funnelling £675,315 through pro-Brexit youth group BeLeave.
However, Vote Leave said the accusations were "wholly inaccurate" and politically motivated.
A spokesman for the Electoral Commission said: "It is right that potential electoral offences are properly investigated by the appropriate authority".
He added there was "no substance to allegations that the Commission is biased", saying they had investigated campaigners and parties on both the Leave and Remain sides of the EU referendum.
After the announcement, LBC's Iain Dale wrote: "These charges were headline news at the time. I doubt that this development will merit three lines in any of tomorrow's papers or on today's news bulletins.
"As Darren Grimes says, the Electoral Commission has some serious questions to answer."