Get behind a public inquiry into the EU Referendum

by Kyle Taylor

Get behind a public inquiry into the EU Referendum

by Kyle Taylor
Kyle Taylor
Case owner
My name is Kyle Taylor. I am the director of Fair Vote UK. I am bringing this case forward because we must defend our democracy against cheaters and law-breakers.
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Kyle Taylor
Case owner
My name is Kyle Taylor. I am the director of Fair Vote UK. I am bringing this case forward because we must defend our democracy against cheaters and law-breakers.
Pledge now

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Latest: Oct. 30, 2018

We're more than halfway to our goal!

We've reached £50k on our crowdfunder. That means we're more than halfway to fully funding our judicial review for a public inquiry.


The government has still not responded to our pre-a...

Read more

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

We now know – beyond a reasonable doubt – the EU Referendum was rife with illegal activity and cheating. We cannot stand idly by while our democracy is being attacked. If you rob a bank and get caught, they don't let you keep the money.

We ‘the people’ cannot be expected to accept as legitimate the decisions reached by the executive and Parliament on the basis of an advisory referendum if that referendum was subject to serious and intentional breaches of the law, aimed at procuring a particular result. The time to act is now.

Central to our democracy is that elections are free and fair. There are strict limits on how much each campaigning group can spend and publicly available records of who spent what. These rules apply both to elections for political office and to referendums.






WHAT HAPPENED?

The Electoral Commission has the task of enforcing these rules at the first instance. It has found that the official campaign for leaving the EU, Vote Leave, improperly channelled £675,315 through the tech firm AggregateIQ to get around election spending laws. This firm used Facebook profiling to target individuals with specific messages. According to evidence heard by the House of Commons Committee in March 2018 the profiles were built without the consent or knowledge of UK voters. The amount of money improperly spent would have enabled hundreds of millions of Facebook advertisements to be posted. The result of the EU Referendum was certainly influenced by this.

The Electoral Commission has similarly found that another Leave campaign, Leave.EU – fronted by Arron Banks - also committed offences.

Additionally, it appears involvement of Russian state actors were promoting content that would influence UK voters. 260 anti EU stories prepared by Kremlin-backed media were shared 134 million times online, according to research put together by 89up – a communication and social medical analytics company.

DO WE REALLY KNOW THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE?

The “will of the people” is a phrase that is often repeated to explain the chaos we find ourselves in. Since it is now clear that the referendum result was procured on the basis of criminal offences as found by the Electoral Commission, what the will of the people truly is has got to be questioned.


WHAT DO WE WANT TO DO?

Fair Vote is taking legal action to demand truth and accountability about the Referendum. We are challenging the Government decision not to hold a full public inquiry into the Referendum.  We now know that the designated campaign body Vote Leave cheated and overspent by a huge amount; that there were suspicious and opaque donors to the Leave campaign; that Russia is implicated in social media campaigns intended to sway the vote and that foreign data companies using questionable tactics were deeply involved along with senior politicians and political advisors in the UK.  All this has led to such significant public concern that only a Public Inquiry headed by a judge with formal powers to compel witnesses can find out what truly happened.  The UK urgently needs its own Mueller investigation. Please help us to fund this urgent and important legal challenge.

THIS IS BIGGER THAN BREXIT:

It is vital that all our votes and especially those with fundamental constitutional implications, such as the EU referendum, are conducted freely and fairly if ‘the people’ are to respect the democratic process. It is a legitimate and necessary part of our democracy that the courts are able and willing to consider the legality of the process and we believe that they will be willing to do so as guardians of the common law.


WHO AM I?

I am Kyle Taylor, the director of Fair Vote UK. I believe it is vitally important that we - at this moment - fight with everything we can to defend our democratic systems and rule of law. We cannot let cheaters and law-breakers get away with undermining our very way of life.

WHO IS FAIR VOTE UK?

Fair Vote UK is a democracy and transparency organisation set up in the wake of revelations that Vote Leave cheated in the referendum. 






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Update 6

Kyle Taylor

Oct. 30, 2018

We're more than halfway to our goal!

We've reached £50k on our crowdfunder. That means we're more than halfway to fully funding our judicial review for a public inquiry.


The government has still not responded to our pre-action letter and they are clearly not taking the threats to our democracy seriously. A public inquiry could give us the answers and path forward to safeguarding our democracy. 


Pledge your support today to take us to the finish line!

Update 5

Kyle Taylor

Oct. 15, 2018

UK Police will not investigate Russian interference in to the Brexit referendum

Over the weekend, Scotland Yard announced they will not be conducting an investigation into claims that Russia may have influenced the outcome of the EU referendum or that other foreign- entities could have played a role according to a letter they sent to Fair Vote UK’s legal team in the wake of our call for a public inquiry.


The Government so far has refused to hold an inquiry on the grounds that this was a matter for the Police, who have now confirmed that they do not intend to hold any such investigation in a letter to Fair Vote UK. 


According to their letter, the Metropolitan Police will not investigate the following matters:


  • Russian interference in the referendum campaign. “International bodies and states cannot commit criminal offences” under electoral legislation;


  •  The involvement of foreign-based companies, including political strategy and data analytics companies;


  •  Truthfulness during the campaign. “This is not a criminal offence per se and therefore not a police matter,” the letter says;


  •  The scale of campaign donations in 2016.


Fair Vote UK’s call for an inquiry has gathered supported from several MPs, namely Conservative MP and chair of the DCMS committee Damian Collins MP and Deputy Leader of the Labour party Tom Watson MP.


Kyle Taylor, Director of Fair Vote UK, said: “The Police saying that they will not investigate Russian state interference shows exactly why we desperately need a Mueller-style inquiry if we are ever going to ensure our democracy is fit for purpose. It’s clear no bodies are taking up the vital work of investigating what happened and ensuring it never happens again. A public inquiry is an absolute necessity if we believe in safeguarding our democracy and the government’s refusal to act is a disgrace.” 

Update 4

Kyle Taylor

Oct. 9, 2018

Hillary Clinton Joins Calls for Public Inquiry Into EU Referendum

Hillary Clinton has joined Damian Collins MP and Tom Watson MP in calling for an inquiry into misconduct during the Brexit referendum, saying that democracy is in crisis and that the Conservative party is failing democracy.


Hillary Clinton has joined an ever increasing chorus of voices calling for an urgent inquiry into what on earth happened during the Brexit referendum. Clinton rightly sees the failure of our Government to conduct an investigation into what happened as a total abdication of their responsibility as protectors of and believers in democracy. 


Please keep sharing our Crowd Justice page and the pre claim letter sent to the government by Bindmans LLP outlining the case for a public inquiry. Thank you so much for your continued support!



Update 3

Kyle Taylor

Sept. 24, 2018

We are challenging the Government decision not to hold a full public inquiry.

Fair Vote and Bindmans LLP challenge Theresa May's decision not to hold a full public inquiry into the EU referendum.

Fair Vote is a campaigning NGO formed to press for accountability and reform in the light of revelations about the undermining of democratic processes during the EU Referendum campaign. Some of this involved law-breaking on a massive scale; some of it was completely lawful, but deeply unethical and undemocratic; some of it is borderline. Much of it involved foreign companies and there is also compelling evidence of interference by Russia.

On 5 July 2018, Fair Vote wrote to the Prime Minister asking for these matters to be investigated bearing in mind the “need to maintain the people’s faith in our democracy” and later pressed for that to happen in the open at a public inquiry that would have the power to compel witnesses to give evidence and demand documents. This is currently the only way for the UK to have its equivalent of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the way democracy was undermined during the US Presidential Election.

However, the Prime Minister flatly refused an inquiry on 3 August 2018, saying that Parliament had given the Electoral Commission and Police all the necessary power to address public concern about the EU Referendum and that everything was “being dealt with” satisfactorily. This is legally wrong. Neither the Commission nor the Police have the powers of an inquiry. Their investigations are also limited. They can only investigate breaches of the law as it stands (and the law is out of date). The National Crime Agency has told MPs it is not investigating. And there are compelling reasons why an investigation into what happened and its consequences is necessary that the Prime Minister’s decision does not confront.

Supported by Bindmans LLP solicitors, Fair Vote is now ready to challenge the Prime Minister’s refusal. Bindmans have sent a 49 page letter before action which painstakingly explains how public concern has arisen and why only an inquiry can adequately address it. If the Prime Minister maintains her stance, Fair Vote is prepared to challenge her refusal in the courts through judicial review and is crowdfunding to make this possible.


Fair Vote and Bindmans' pre action letter can be viewed in full here. 

Update 2

Kyle Taylor

Sept. 23, 2018

New letter being sent to the Government

On Monday, we will be sending a new letter to the Government setting out why the Government's refusal to hold a public inquiry is not lawful. A copy of this letter will be available to read after Monday. 

Update 1

Kyle Taylor

Aug. 15, 2018

Government Response Received

Now’s the time for a public inquiry into Brexit cheating: let’s overturn Mrs May’s refusal

Theresa May’s lawyers have now responded on her behalf to our letter, refusing each of our requests.  We have decided to focus our energies on argument 1 – our demand for a full public inquiry – and to take legal action on this issue. This will put crucial pressure on the government.

If successful, our demand for a full public inquiry would produce real and lasting benefits for our democracy, including how it responds to questions of EU membership in future, including in a second referendum.  Further, if the timeline for the Brexit processes were to change – which is possible –the outcome of a public inquiry into Brexit cheating could be of vital importance for our MPs voting on Brexit-related proposals in Parliament.

Put simply, we cannot allow any further votes without changing the rules to make sure they’re free and fair.

We also believe the reasons for a public inquiry into cheating in the Brexit Referendum are compelling and there are no good reasons to refuse one.  But in the letter of response sent by Theresa May’s lawyers on her behalf, she has point blank refused to order an inquiry.  We cannot see why anyone who cares about democracy would refuse, given the many revelations of cheating, which continue to accumulate. 

There are ongoing investigations and inquiries by the Information Commissioner’s Office, the Electoral Commission and Parliament’s Digital Culture Media and Sport Committee.  But the remit and powers of each of these bodies is limited. 

A case in point is the refusal of certain witnesses and persons of interest to cooperate and appear to give evidence: Aaron Banks - reportedly, the largest individual donor in UK political history - walked out midway through giving evidence to the DCMS Committee which has no power to compel witnesses.  Last week there were further revelations in the Guardian about Mr Banks’ links with Russia.  A public inquiry would have the power to compel witnesses, such as Mr Banks, whose evidence will be critical in exposing the extent of cheating that took place during the Brexit Referendum and how this manipulated our democratic process.  We want to ensure that this can never happen again.

We have been able to adjust our initial target to £25,000 which will allow our legal team to do the next phase of preparatory work – which is setting out strong arguments on the need for a full public inquiry to the Government’s lawyers. So to confirm, your cards will be charged when we hit our new initial target of £25,000. Crucially, hitting this target will mean we can proceed immediately to the next phase

However, we still need you help to get to our goal of £50,000 for the subsequent stage in order that we can issue our case in court. Please continue to share this case on Twitter and Facebook and email your friends and family letting them know how important this case is!

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