Just as The Brexit Party under Nigel Farage is about to sweep the political board in tomorrow's elections, in steps the Electoral Commission and the EU Parliament with funding investigations.
PLEASE WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW:
In the last couple of days Nigel Farage has become the centre of attention for not just the EU elections but also for two political financial investigations.
One is from the EU Parliament that comes after a Channel 4 documentary that says that The Brexit Party leader was given generous funds by Arron Banks during the 2016 EU referendum, with the Guardian reporting:
"Invoices, emails and documents showed Farage benefited from a £13,000-a-month Chelsea home, a car with a driver, and promotional visits to the US in 2016."
As a consequence the president of the EU parliament, Antonio Tajani, has referred Nigel Farage to an advisory committee.
The second investigation came from the UK Electoral Commission that visited the offices of The Brexit Party yesterday to investigate whether irregular payments were being made to the party. And it's funny how that visit came hard on the heels of a Gordon Brown speech that referred to Nigel Farage as being a 'man of the Paypal' not of the people.
Now, in a Press Association video, Mr Farage said that his team went to the Electoral Commission last week and The Brexit Party was given a clean bill of health, although the Commission would not put that in writing. So they asked the Electoral Commission to visit The Brexit Party's premises and the reply they got from the Commission, says Farage, is that they didn't have the time.
"And then," says Farage, "in an act of bad faith, which actually is political interference, suddenly they are appearing in the offices because, as their press release says, something might be wrong."
"It is an outrageous act of political interference, timed beautifully to coincide with Gordon Brown's speech."
And he went on to say that he has a team of four qualified accountants looking after this and that he would bet that he has the most compliant party in the elections.
Very sensible, as he knows how much scrutiny he and his party will now be put under.
But it seems that the Electoral Commission should be more concerned with how these elections are actually being run than conducting what appears to be a one sided compliance investigation, as there seems to be two major flaws in this particular election.
First, thousands of EU citizens living in the UK appear to have been given incorrect information or not been given the correct forms to fill in to allow them to vote tomorrow.
And the Independent reports that:
"An official complaint to the Electoral Commission accuses the watchdog of having “reneged on a commitment” to avoid a repeat of the same problems at the last EU elections, five years ago."
Calls are now being made for the forms to be available to EU27 citizens at the polling booths where they can sign to declare they are only voting here in the UK.
And second, a large number of UK citizens living abroad may have been disenfranchised by the postal system.
According to a BBC report some local councils did not use Royal Mail to send out the forms and some of the forms went via the Netherlands to get to France with many arriving late and some not at all.
Now, these elections were called late in the day, so surely the Electoral Commission should have been all over this sort of thing. Surely they must have put extra personnel and resources into making sure things ran smoothly?
But it turns out that while the Electoral Commission is hunting around for evidence that The Brexit Party is running a banana republic campaign, it is the Electoral Commission that is overseeing a banana republic style election.
You just couldn't make it up!
Nigel Farage has accused the Electoral Commission of being "absolutely full of Remainers" as the watchdog visited the Brexit Party's headquarters amid a review into its donations system. pic.twitter.com/OPop18vSDD
— Press Association (@PA) May 21, 2019