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Saturday 18 May 2019

Led By Donkeys Spending Limit Smear BUSTED

[Update at end of post]

After both Vote Leave and Leave EU were caught breaking spending limits in the run-up to the 2016 EU referendum, it was inevitable that Leave-backing Fake News pushers would try and smear the rotten Remainers with the same accusation. And so it has come to pass, as the Westminster bubble’s most infamous borderline Fake News outlet has splashed a totally untrue EU election spending limit breach story.
Hugh Bennett - down to the usual Fawkes standard

To no surprise at all, the Fake News has come courtesy of the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, and specifically recent hire Hugh Bennett, whose grip on reality is even more tenuous than that of his predecessors. “Anti-Brexit Billboard Campaign In Massive Apparent Breach Of Electoral Lawis the headline, backed up with “Anti-Brexit Billboard Campaign In Massive Breach Of Spending Limits”.
The target of these claims, both of which are totally false, is Led By Donkeys, which has crowdfunded a host of billboard displays. Previous displays have quoted Tweets from Leave-backing politicians demonstrating their dishonesty and duplicity; the current set expose the true beliefs of Brexit Party candidates, like their hostility to the NHS.
So what’s The Great Guido’s shtick? Accompanied by the claim “Exclusive”, as in no-one else was stupid enough to try this on, we read “As Led By Donkeys are no doubt aware, as they’ve put a small imprint on their posters, the UK is in a regulated election period for the EU elections. Under Electoral Commission guidance Led By Donkeys clearly qualify as a non-party campaign. This means they are subject to legal spending limits”.
Yes? Yes yes? Yes yes yes? “By their own count they have spent well over £230,000 since January … This puts them over £70,000 over the legal spending limit and in massive breach of electoral law”. Bennett was almost beside himself as he Tweeted the news.
And Sarah Beale of Channel 4 News was taken in enough to respond “Hello. I work for Channel 4 News and I'm going to have a look at this”. But the Tweeter known as The Great Remain had bad news for both Bennett and Ms Beale.
Bearing in mind that until 29th March and even later we weren't going to have EU Elections in this country it's difficult to see how their posters before then could be classified as part of an EU Election campaign. But don't let facts get in the way of your shit stirring” was the advice to Bennett and anyone who had believed him.
That the UK would participate in this year’s European Parliament elections was not confirmed until the 7th of May. That’s just eleven days ago. Even the prospect of participating in those elections was not there until it was confirmed in late March that the UK had been granted an extension to the Article 50 period.

It should be blindingly obvious to any observer with brain plugged in and a hole in their arse that the idea of a “regulated election period” before that time is for the birds. As to what that says about Hugh Bennett, well, I couldn’t possibly comment.
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[UPDATE 1110 hours: Tim O'Connor has ventured where Hugh Bennett did not, and that means he has read the rules governing third party spending limits.
And sadly for the Fawkes rabble, what he has discovered only makes things worse for this supposed "exclusive" story (also promoted as a "Guido Investigation", a contradiction in terms if ever there was one).
Here's O'Connor's conclusion. "Well, you see, the good Hugh here didn’t bother reading the primary legislation, which states that to be third party expenditure it must promote specific candidates or parties. Embarrassing some with an even hand isn’t enough, it must promote others ... Which would be frightfully embarrassing if, as a supposedly serious analyst, one hadn’t checked before blazing away". Serious analyst? We're talking about The Great Guido here.

So there you have it. More confirmation of Fake News, if any were needed]


rob said...

"that to be third party expenditure it must promote specific candidates or parties."

Ironic that Led by Donkeys are actually promoting the words of the leading Brexiteers. Just like the BBC although they aren't challenging them in a meaningful way for some unknown reason.

Neil said...

Are the tweets by Tim O Connor still up? I had a look at his twitter page and couldn't find them.

Anonymous said...

He might have taken them down because - much as Geedo are awful - they're probably right in this case (though for slightly different reasons than they're saying).

Anonymous said...

Tweets are still there. You have to look at replies.



Neil said...

Thanks anon

David B. said...

Led By Donkeys...as is Guido's Google search history, allegedly.

Anonymous said...

Fact Check (for FAKE FAKE news)

Regulated period for the EU elections began on Jan 23rd 2019. Check the electoral commission website if you need confirmation.


Spending on regulated campaign activity is regulated in the runup to the 2019 European Parliamentary elections. The regulated period began on 23 January 2019, and will end on polling day, 23 May 2019.

oops, better be careful here

Do two fakes cancel each other out????

This is NOT fake