Vote Leave: Liars, scoundrels and cheats

*This article first appeared in the Daily Record on 18/07/18*

 

By Ian Murray

Labour MP for Edinburgh South

 

WE knew they lied on a monumental scale.

Now we know they cheated as well.

The importance of the Electoral Commission probe cannot be underestimated: Vote Leave broke the law.

In a referendum where there was a percentage gap of just four points between Remain and Leave, the official Leave campaign overspent by ten per cent.

The lies during the referendum campaign were deeply frustrating. Remember Boris’s red bus with the claim that we could spend £350million extra a week on the NHS? It was a lie.

Or the ugly billboard poster that stated Turkey was joining the EU? A lie.

Or what about Tory MEP Daniel Hannan’s claim that ‘absolutely nobody is talking about threatening our place in the single market’. As we hurtle towards a cliff-edge Brexit out of the Single Market, demonstrably a lie.

But there was little we could do about it during the campaign, just like we couldn’t stop Alex Salmond promoting the lies in his independence White Paper.

However, there was a key difference between indyref and EUref: in the independence referendum, neither side cheated. The resounding No vote was fair and decisive.

The same can no longer be said for the Leave vote in 2016.

Vote Leave circumvented strict spending limits by funnelling cash to another group. Liars; scoundrels; and now cheats as well.

While the Electoral Commission focuses on the officials involved, let’s not forget who publicly fronted this despicable campaign: it was senior Tories Boris Johnson and Michael Gove.

Johnson has already done a runner from government, cowardly refusing to take responsibility for the tens of thousands of jobs he is willing to sacrifice on the altar of ‘independence’ for Britain, but Gove is still there.

Both of these senior Tories must come clean about what they knew and apologise to the voters.

Theresa May’s allies Dominic Raab, Liam Fox, Chris Grayling and Andrea Leadsom also sat on the Vote Leave campaign committee and must be held to account rather than hiding behind their ministerial cars.

This is the biggest political scandal of our times. With parliament in chaos, there is only one solution: the decision on leaving the EU must be put back in the hands of the people.

It’s time for a People’s Vote on Brexit, and – this time – those who want to destroy jobs and livelihoods will not be allowed to cheat their way to victory by breaking the law.

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