Aided and abetted by their pals in the right-leaning part of the media establishment, the inmates at Leave EU yesterday told anyone prepared to listen that they were now in the clear. “LEAVE EU IN THE CLEAR” told their Twitter feed, adding “In a crucial blow to the Remain nutjob conspiracy theorists, the Met Police have today informed us that all investigations into our campaign have been dropped”.
There was the customary welter of abuse directed at Damian Collins, Ben Bradshaw, and of course the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr. The claims were then reinforced by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who declared “Police Conclude Leave EU Campaign Did Not Break Law During The 2016 Referendum”.
The Great Guido went further: “The Metropolitan Police have today announced there will be no further action against the Leave.EU campaign. The police said that there is insufficient evidence to justify any further criminal investigation. Campaign founder Arron Banks has demanded a public inquiry into Remainer MPs’ abuse of public office in response”. Leave EU had been vindicated. Or had they?
After Leave EU trolled the BBC with “Afternoon [BBC News}, We noticed you've missed today's breaking news. Seeing how you covered the story so extensively when the investigation was announced, we're sure as an impartial organisation you'll want to give the Met Police's findings today equal coverage”, someone put them straight.
Manveen Rana, a reporter for BBC News and the Radio 4 Today Programme, responded “Just to clarify, the National Crime Agency investigation into [Arron Banks], [Leave EU] and [Liz Bilney] which [BBC News] covered at length, is still ongoing. In a statement today, the NCA said: ‘This is a live investigation’ and they’ll report the outcome once it’s concluded”.
So Banksy and his pals are not quite as in the clear as they made out. This revelation resulted in Banks’ oily sidekick Andy Wigmore trying his usual creepy bullying schtick on Ms Rana: “Careful [Manveen Rana] wouldn’t want to get that wrong would we”. Nice news gathering organisation you’ve got there, pity if something were to happen to it.
Sadly for Wiggy, Ms Rana does not bully easily, especially when she has the right story and knows it. Hence her reply “Hi Andy. I think you must have missed the detail. I quoted a statement from the NCA sent to me *today*. By all means, do give them a ring to check. I’m sure they’d be delighted to hear from you”. Ouch!
In their response to Ms Rana, the NCA referred to their statement from November last year, and added “This is a live investigation [present tense], and we are unable to discuss any operational detail, however we are progressing the investigation as expeditiously as possible and will report the outcome of the investigation at the earliest opportunity, once all matters have been thoroughly investigated”. Well, well.
So Leave EU lied when they claimed “all investigations into our campaign have been dropped”. The Fawkes rabble also lied - no surprise there - with that headline claim. And Andy Wigmore failed in his latest crude and creepy attempt to bully the media.
Leave EU is not out of the woods yet. I’ll just leave that one there.
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