Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Brexit: and Exeter's MP still asking for investigations

Two weeks ago, Ben Bradshaw MP was asking yet again for proper scrutiny to be made over opaque financing during the referendum two years ago:
Futures Forum: Brexit: Legatum and Exeter's MP calling for 'urgent investigations' into Legatum

Bulldog tenacity would be a way to describe his continued insistence on answers: 

Arron Banks company provided £12m of services to Leave. EU

‘Administrative services’ were provided prior to £700,000 spending cap taking effect

David Pegg and Iain Campbell
Wed 9 May 2018 | Last modified on Mon 14 May 2018

Leave.EU received more than £12m of campaign services from a company controlled by the businessman Arron Banks, despite its referendum spending being capped at £700,000. A business associate of Banks said the services were provided prior to the referendum spending cap taking effect in April 2016, and therefore entirely legal. But the disclosure, at a time when Electoral Commission investigations into leave campaign financing are continuing, will raise serious concerns about the ease with which laws restricting campaign spending can potentially be circumvented.

The Labour MP Ben Bradshaw said there were “serious questions that need answering” in response to the new admission. “I would hope and expect the National Crime Agency and Britain’s financial regulators to be taking a serious look at this rather than leaving everything to the Electoral Commission and parliamentary committees whose powers of investigation and sanction are very limited,” said Bradshaw, who has previously called for an inquiry into referendum funding.

Arron Banks company provided £12m of services to Leave. EU | Politics | The Guardian 

Billionaire Christopher Chandler denies spy claims

MPs told parliament that the New Zealand-born businessman had links with Russian intelligence

Luke Harding

Tue 15 May 2018

Chandler funds the Legatum Institute, a London-based thinktank which has been accused of advocating for a hard Brexit. The Labour MP Ben Bradshaw, who has raised questions about the Kremlin’s possible role in the EU referendum, has called on the authorities to investigate. Legatum said it was an “absurd accusation to say that they had an undue influence on Brexit”.

A series of exposés by the Mail on Sunday claimed that the institute’s former economics director, Shankar Singham, held clandestine meetings with Michael Gove and Boris Johnson. The goal was to pile pressure on Theresa May to leave the single market and customs union.

Mandrake: Too many chefs

14 May 2018

The openDemocracyUK team raised eyebrows with their disclosures about the hitherto unknown monthly meetings that the trade minister Greg Hands had been having with Shanker Singham when he was still at the controversial think-tank Legatum.

An unidentified former Labour minister was quoted as saying that they pointed to the existence of “a secret kitchen cabinet charting the course of a hard Brexit”.

If so, it would appear that the kitchen must be getting crowded. The doughty Labour MP Ben Bradshaw has lately been inquiring in the Commons about Singham’s meetings with Steve Baker, another Brexit minister, over the past 12 months. Robin Walker, for the department, told him to wait for the next quarterly transparency announcement.

Even more intriguingly, Bradshaw asked the Cabinet Office if it had recently sought advice from the intelligence and security agencies about ministerial contacts with the Legatum. David Lidington, the cabinet office minister, replied: “We do not routinely comment on security matters.”


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