Leave EU’s main man Arron Banks, so the accepted wisdom goes, was “The man who bankrolled Brexit”. He had loaned and donated millions of pounds to the cause. He was, we were assured, a billionaire in his own right, and probably ranked as high as any in Rome. Moreover, he was able to call on the services of the most prestigious, and indeed expensive, lawyers when it came to defending his reputation.
So it was that when MEP Guy Verhofstadt Tweeted “Europe has a fifth column in its ranks: Putin's cheerleaders who want to destroy Europe & liberal democracy from within: Le Pen, Wilders, Farage, Orbàn, Kaczynski, Salvini use Kremlin money & intel. Like Farage's friend Arron Banks, who colluded w/ Russians to deliver #Brexit”, Banksy got Mishcon de Reya to fire off a reassuringly expensive missive aimed at securing retraction.
But there was a problem: the letter did not follow pre-action protocol for defamation. Then, when lawyers for Byline Media, which has threatened legal action of its own against Banks and his sidekick Andy Wigmore, contacted Mishcon de Reya as part of issuing a Letter Before Action, they were told, on the personal advice of Anthony Julius himself, that they were not instructed in regards to those complaints.
That meant they were not representing Banksy and Wiggy. What was the problem? Had there been a falling out? Well, maybe the problem is a more fundamental one - money, or in Arron Banks’ case, the lack of it. You think I jest? Check this out.
Leave EU’s Twitter feed has told its followers “It's never easy forcing the Establishment to implement something they don't believe in. We knew they'd fight back - this is why we've stuck around! To keep up the fight, we need your support! Will you help us ensure that a true Brexit is delivered?” They want donations? What for? What role do they have in “delivering Brexit”, apart from none at all? And there was more.
The Leave EU website, under the heading “DONATE TO HELP FIGHT THE INTRUSIVE ATTACKS ON LEAVE EU”, has told “It has been a momentous week for the campaign. On Tuesday, Leave.EU’s chairman Arron Banks was in Parliament for a three-hour interrogation by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports committee … The now notorious hearing was just the latest move by the Remainer Establishment to undermine the reputation of the independence campaign and spread doubt over the legitimacy of 2016’s historic referendum … They must not succeed. Even the smallest donations will enable us to fight back. Thank you”. What did attending that hearing cost, apart from nothing?
The Brexit legislation is now passing through Parliament. Banksy, Wiggy and their pals have no part in that at all. What Leave EU really means, although it is not admitted, has been enunciated by the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr: “‘Millionaire’ @Arron_banks is now begging for money. Those legal letters must be starting to add up”.
Arron Banks supposedly gave millions to the Leave EU campaign. Now he’s been hit with a legal action for blatantly defaming Byline Media, the millions seem to have vanished and he’s reduced to crowdfunding his defence, under the dishonest pretence of campaigning.
So tell us all again, Banksy, where did all those millions come from? No pressure, now.