When the Electoral Commission fined Vote Leave and reported the pro-Brexit organisation to the police for breaking electoral laws – not ‘rules’, as the BBC has insisted on calling them – it also fined ‘BeLeave’ founder Darren Grimes £20,000 for his part in the breach. BeLeave spent £675,000 in the EU referendum that should have been declared as electoral spending – on now-infamous firm AggregateIQ.
Grimes attempted to crowdfund the money to pay the fine, but crowdfunding platform JustGiving cancelled the appeal and refunded all donations after protests that it was not appropriate to crowdfund a fine for a legal breach.
Grimes has now exceeded his target amount after being helped to raise funds by hard right organisations, calling his new crowdfund an appeal for legal costs and saying that no donations will be used to pay the fine, but three Tory MPs have also supported him – and their actions have resulted in a complaint to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.
The MPs Code of Conduct places an unequivocal duty on MPs to uphold the law:
It’s hard to see how tweeting to support a fundraiser to fight a judgment by the country’s regulator and attack its integrity is in keeping with that duty, but Ms Patel tweeted support for his appeal and Ms Allan shared that tweet:
The member of the public’s complaint reads:
Darren Grimes was found to have acted illegally by independent EC & referred to the police.
Both Priti Patel and Lucy Allan, sitting MPs, are actively encouraging, asking the public to fund party / parties who have committed electoral fraud and intercede in a criminal investigation?
One could even moot that, both MPs are indulging in what might well be seen as the unlawful act of “sedition”?
I hope that this behaviour will be dealt with in the full and correct manner in order to protect our sovereign democracy from those MPs who seem to hold an attitude that, the law is only worth adhering to when it suits a particular agenda?
A third Tory MP, David Davies – the MP for Monmouth, not David Davis the former Brexit minister – also supported Grimes’ appeal, but the complainant appears not to have been aware of this at the time. Davies tweeted a link to the crowdfund and a separate message wishing Grimes luck:
‘Respecting the result’ appears to mean ‘ignoring lawbreaking’ in the right-wing lexicon.
Patel resigned as Secretary of State for International Development after being exposed conducting undeclared meetings with Israeli officials during a holiday.
Lucy Allan was at the centre of controversy after admitting doctoring an email in a way that made it appear to be a death threat, and again when she was accused of bullying staff, which she later admitted was ‘wrong’ and ‘stupid’ behaviour. She was also exposed by the SKWAWKBOX posing with party activists as members of the public in photos published as part of her 2017 general election campaign.
Both Patel and Allan have been contacted with the text of the complaint against them and asked for comment, but only Ms Allan has replied so far. She told the SKWAWKBOX:
Darren Grimes is crowdfunding the legal fees for his appeal against a finding made by the Electoral Commission.
Like anyone else, Darren is entitled to an appeal and to seek legal representation.
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