‘Corrupt’ Brexit vote was ‘bought quite possibly with Russian money’

The Brexit vote was "corrupt" because it was " bought quite possibly with Russian money", MPs heard today.

Labour MP Liam Byrne made the accusation in the House of Commons after official campaign Vote Leave was fined and referred to police for breaking electoral law.

As MPs called for a second referendum, Mr Byrne said: "This house is the guardian of free and fair elections.

"It is now clear this referendum result was corrupt because it was bought, quite possibly with Russian money.

"Which minister will now ask the Director of Public Prosecutions to consider a joint enterprise prosecution so that it’s not just the staff of these campaigns that are prosecuted, but the governing minds as well?"

Mr Byrne did not elaborate in the chamber on what he meant.

It comes after a long-awaited watchdog report into Vote Leave, the official Brexit campaign.

The Electoral Commission slammed Vote Leave’s decision to hand more than £600,000 to a then 23-year-old fashion student – which his group BeLeave spent on a data analytics and voter targeting firm.

The massive donation to Darren Grimes, just days before the 2016 referendum, meant Vote Leave did not breach its £7million spending limit.

But today the Commission said there was "significant evidence of joint working" between Mr Grimes and Vote Leave. That meant Vote Leave should have declared the spending as its own, the watchdog said.

Vote Leave was fronted by top Tories including Boris Johnson and Michael Gove.

The Commission did not apportion any blame to them and they have not been accused of any wrongdoing by the authorities.

But MPs said today they and other Tories should answer questions about what they knew.

Labour MP Stella Creasy said: "The minister confirmed that there is now an ongoing police investigation as a result of this report. Does she therefore not think it is right that all those who could potentially be part of that police investigation recuse themselves from government until it is concluded?

"Surely lawmakers should not be law breakers."

Labour MP Chuka Umunna called for an urgent public inquiry, telling the Commons: "Members of the Cabinet sat in an organisation which has been found to have flouted our democracy."

Vote Leave said the report "contains a number of false accusations and incorrect assertions that are wholly inaccurate and do not stand up to scrutiny."

A spokesman added: "All this suggests that the supposedly impartial Commission is motivated by a political agenda rather than uncovering the facts.

"The Commission has failed to follow due process, and in doing so has based its conclusions on unfounded claims and conspiracy theories."

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