Brexit Vote Leave campaign would face 'realistic chances of conviction', say government legal experts

David Harding
Contributor
Campaigners on Westminster Bridge who claim the Brexit vote was not fair (Rex)

The pro-Brexit campaign group Vote Leave may be prosecuted after potentially breaking electoral spending rules during the campaign to leave the European Union, according to government legal experts.

In a a damning legal judgment by a parliamentary committee, Vote Leave may have incurred spending worth £625,000 that was not declared to the electoral authorities.

Each group which campaigned in the EU referendum and incurred expenses of more than £10,000 was required to show out how much they spent.

The news is likely to result in calls by remainers to argue that the referendum to leave the European Union was legally flawed.

Cabinet minister and Brexit campaigner Michael Gove said earlier this month that Vote Leave had done nothing wrong (Rex)

Their findings come after whistleblowers claimed the legal spending limit had been breached by Vote Leave.

‘We consider that there is a prima facie case that the following electoral offences were committed by Vote Leave in the EU referendum campaign and that these require urgent investigation so that consideration can be given to whether to refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service for a decision on whether to prosecute,’ said the just-published legal judgement from  the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee said.

It added: ‘These require urgent investigation so that consideration can be given to whether to refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service for a decision on whether to prosecute.’

It adds that there would be a ‘realistic prospect’ of convictions.

The findings go on to question the role of Vote Leave individuals, including Dominic Cummings, a former special adviser to Michael Gove, and Cleo Watson who is now a political adviser to 10 Downing Street.

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A Brexit campaigner (Rex)

Britain is due to leave the EU next year after the 2016 referendum backed splitting from Brussels.

The findings by the committee come after whistleblower Mark Gettleson, who worked on Vote Leave communications argued through lawyers that the group allegedly sought to sidestep spending limits during the campaign.

Gettleson is the third whistleblower to step forward and claim there were irregularities.

Earlier this month, Gove, now the environment secretary, said Vote Leave had done nothing wrong during the campaign.