Brexit: MPs take legal action to force police to act over 'crimes' committed by Leave campaign during EU referendum

A cross-party group of parliamentarians is taking legal action against the Metropolitan Police over electoral offences in the 2016 EU referendum.

Lawyers for the group – which includes Liberal Democrat, Labour and Green MPs – have sent a legal letter to the Met demanding an explanation for delays in deciding whether individuals and groups associated with the Leave campaign should face criminal charges.

If no action is taken, the MPs warn they will seek judicial review of the force’s handling of a dossier of information handed over by the Electoral Commission last year.

In July 2018, the Commission imposed fines on the Vote Leave and BeLeave campaigns, as well as on BeLeave founder Darren Grimes, after finding that they breached electoral law by falsely reporting joint spending on the referendum. Another group, Veterans for Britain, was fined for incorrectly reporting a donation it received from Vote Leave.

The Met confirmed last September that it had received over 2,000 documents and a full explanation from the Electoral Commission on the breaches, but no announcement has yet been made on any possible criminal charges.

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman Tom Brake, one of the MPs behind the crowdfunded legal action, said: “The public are entitled to know without delay the extent of any criminal law-breaking that took place in the run-up, during and after the EU referendum campaign.

“Foot-dragging is not an option for the police when investigating claims relating to the integrity of our democracy.”

Lawyers Bindmans were due to deliver a letter before action to the Met, challenging their delay in investigation and seeking an explanation as to their failure to reach a charging decision.

More follows…