While both Leave EU and Vote Leave face serious accusations regarding the apparently blatant busting of spending limits in the run-up to the 2016 EU referendum, a diminishing group of diehards has been trying to pin similar claims on the Remain side. Thus far, these have gone nowhere, because no credible evidence has been ponied up. But those leading this campaign, such as it is, are not yet downhearted.
That their campaign, or what remains of it, is apparently being led by disgraced Tory MP and very much former minister Priti Patel, supported by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, is not being acknowledged as a handicap, or that this may diminish its credibility in the eyes of the authorities.
The Great Guido has run a series of pointless attacks backing Ms Patel, each one bearing the caption “Priti: Remainers Blatantly Flouted Spending Rules”. In January, readers were told “Priti Patel has written to the Electoral Commission asking them to launch an investigation following Guido’s stories on how the Remain campaign flouted spending rules during the referendum”. The result? No evidence, no investigation.
So later that month came “Following the Electoral Commission’s refusal to investigate the Remain campaign despite clear evidence of spending breaches [that’s Fawkes evidence, not real evidence], Priti Patel has accused them of bias and ‘double standards’. Priti notes that the Commission launched a full investigation into Vote Leave over claims of spending collusion - despite no evidence [not much] - and yet are refusing to look at BSE even though a whole dossier of evidence was submitted to them”.
No result there, either. So all went quiet - until this month, when it became clear that the various Leave campaigns were in big trouble. So the Fawkes mob dug out their captioned photo of the disgraced Ms Patel and sallied forth once more.
“The Electoral Commission is up in front of the Culture select committee this morning. Guido is sure the Remainer-packed committee, which has been the most one-sided, non-reality based, grandstanding committee by a mile under the tenure of ultra-Remainer chairman Damian Collins, will ask about the Remain campaign’s overspend”, they told, following up with “A good place to start would be Priti Patel’s letter to the Electoral Commission outlining clear evidence of Remain spending breaches”.
That had no effect, either. But when the Telegraph claimed that a video posted on social media broke the spending rules, out came Ms Patel, backed up by The Great Guido. “Following fresh revelations today about the Remain campaign overspend during the referendum, Priti Patel has written to the Electoral Commission calling for an investigation … Guido has the letter”. She’s a Fawkes informant. But we knew that already.
As was pointed out, “Disgraced Tory Priti Patel has made desperate claims that Brexit Remain campaign broke spending rules. She's demonstrating a misunderstand of how electoral law applies - posting 3rd party content on social media is legal. Leave EU & Vote Leave colluding isn’t”. The Fawkes rabble is once again selling its readers a pup.
If they ponied up some real evidence, they might have a point. They won’t, so they don’t.