Leave leaders are spending cheats

Dear Sir, — We all detest cheats.
This is well demonstrated by the way the Australian nation rightly castigated its national cricket team when they cheated during an international match, because some of their players were deliberately tampering with the cricket ball.
Now, another group of cheats has been revealed – the Vote Leave leaders. They have disclosed that the Electoral Commission has found them guilty of breaking the law during the EU referendum.
The BBC comedy show Have I Got News For You summed it up perfectly with its comment: “Vote Leave broke the law, reveals the Electoral Commission, coming as a huge shock to literally tens of people nationwide.”
It is no surprise that Vote Leave has been found guilty of breaking the law on spending limits. 
Vote Leave was found to have colluded over the spending of £625,000 with another pro-Brexit organisation, Beleave, which was run by a 23-year-old fashion student. 
Even more damning, according to Sky News, was that Matthew Elliott, the chief executive of Vote Leave, admitted that this sum of £625,000 was not even paid to Beleave but paid directly to Vote Leave’s preferred, but then obscure, data marketing company Aggregate IQ. This was based above an optician’s shop in Columbia in Canada – supposedly at the request of Beleave. There is a similar issue with £100,000 donated to Veterans for Britain.
In effect, Vote Leave has been found guilty by the Electoral Commission of exceeding the spending limits by about 9%.
The UK is a signatory to the Venice Commission on referenda, which states: “If the cap on spending is exceeded by a significant margin, the vote must be annulled.”
In addition, the UK courts have stated: “In elections, as in sport, those who win by cheating have not properly won and are disqualified.”
It is clear that those who believe in a fair and democratic process must now accept that the 2016 referendum was invalid, and a valid referendum has to be run in its place.
Let us ensure that the rules are changed when this referendum is properly held with a very senior judge acting as an independent arbitrator with stringent powers to severely punish any side that blatantly breaks the rules or lies during the running of a valid EU referendum campaign.
The radical John Bright in 1865 said: “England is the mother of parliaments.”
For the UK to remain in high esteem for its democratic principles, there is no choice other than to have a free and fair referendum on the EU to erase the earlier tainted referendum. — Yours faithfully,
ROBERT DOUGLAS
Congleton.

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