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Nigel Farage: Elections watchdog ‘coordinated’ funding investigation with Gordon Brown | Politics News

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Nigel Farage has accused Britain’s elections watchdog of performing a “coordinated move” with Gordon Brown to raise doubt about his Brexit Party’s funding system.

The prominent Leave campaigner declared that he thought “a lot of people have worked together on this” in an exclusive interview with Sky News.

He attacked the Electoral Commission for visiting his party’s HQ two days before the European elections to investigate its system for receiving payment from new supporters.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MAY 20: Former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown, speaks at an European Parliament election campaign rally as he joins Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard and the party’s candidates at The Lighthouse on May 20, 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland. The former Labour leader urged voters to rally behind the party at a campaign event in Glasgow ahead of the European parliamentary elections this week. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
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Gordon Brown said there was the potential for ‘under-the-counter payments’

Former prime minister Mr Brown used a speech on Monday to accuse Mr Farage’s new outfit of receiving a large amount of money via small “undeclared, untraceable payments”.

He claimed there were potential “under-the-counter payments” being made and that people could pay to join the Brexit Party in many currencies, including the Russian rouble.

Hours later, the Electoral Commission announced it would visit the party’s office the next day to “conduct a review of the systems it has in place to receive funds”.

A spokesperson clarified that its decision was “not related to comments made by the former prime minister”.

But Mr Farage said in a meeting the previous week, the Electoral Commission told him “they liked our procedures” but that a request for the comments to be put in writing was never fulfilled.

He told Sky News they had decided to carry out another visit in a “coordinated move” with Mr Brown.

The elections will influence who gets the top jobs in European Parliament
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EU elections are taking place on Thursday

Attacking the group independent body which oversees elections and political finance, he accused them of being “all political placement”.

Asked to provide evidence to back up his claim it is staffed by Remainers, Mr Farage said: “What we’ve got here is a system of patronage within politics.

“People go to the House of Lords, they go to the Electoral Commission.

“They come from the existing two-and-a-half-parties and the whole system needs to be changed.”

The elections are due to be held in May
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A new group of MEPs are set to be elected given parliament’s refusal to pass a Brexit deal

A spokesperson for the commission earlier said it had been discussing the rules and the Brexit Party’s systems with it since it registered.

“But recently we have seen significant public concern about the way the party raises funds,” they said.

“We have not seen evidence of electoral offences, but the law in this area is complex and we want to satisfy ourselves that the Party’s systems are robust.”

“We are an independent and impartial organisation which is accountable to parliament.

“We regulate as is proportionate to the issue, regardless of a party’s politics.”

A new group of MEPs are set to be elected on Thursday, given parliament’s refusal to pass a Brexit deal.

Prime Minister Theresa May has tried three times to pass a withdrawal agreement and is planning for a fourth and she says final shot at the start of June.

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