The official pro-Brexit campaign group has been fined and referred to the police after the UK’s elections watchdog found it had broken Britain’s strict electoral laws. The Electoral Commission fined Vote Leave £61,000 ($81,000) for coordinating with another campaign group — called BeLeave — and exceeding spending limits during the 2016 referendum campaign. In a damning ruling, the commission said it had imposed a punitive fine on Vote Leave, and accused it of frustrating the watchdog’s investigation. “We found substantial evidence that the two groups (Vote Leave and BeLeave) worked to a common plan, did not declare their joint working and did not adhere to the legal spending limits,” said Bob Posner, Electoral Commission director of political finance and regulation and legal counsel, in a statement.
“It (Vote Leave) has refused to cooperate, refused our requests to put forward a representative for interview and forced us to use our legal powers to compel it to provide evidence,” said Posner. “Nevertheless, the evidence we have found is clear and substantial, and can now be seen in our report.”
The long-awaited report found Vote Leave exceeded its legal spending limit of £7 million ($9.3 million) by around £500,000 ($660,000).