July 19, 2019 / 5:54 PM / 10 months ago

Brexit campaigner wins appeal against over-spending fine

FILE PHOTO - A supporter holds a banner during a Vote Leave event outside the Chelsea Flower Show in London, Britain May 28, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall

LONDON (Reuters) - The founder of a youth-focused pro-Brexit campaign has won an appeal against a 20,000 pound fine imposed by the UK electoral regulator for breaching spending rules in the 2016 referendum.

Britain’s officially designated Brexit campaign group, Vote Leave, was fined in 2018 for breaching spending rules in the run-up to the vote, handing ammunition to opponents of Brexit who have repeatedly called for a re-run of the referendum.

Vote Leave was found to have exceeded the statutory spending limit by working with the youth-focused BeLeave, which spent 675,000 pounds with Aggregate IQ under a common plan with Vote Leave. Aggregate IQ used social media data to target voters.

The Electoral Commission said Vote Leave should have declared its joint spending. It also fined the BeLeave founder, Darren Grimes.

He appealed and said on Friday he was “delighted and relieved” that a court had cleared him.

The Electoral Commission could not immediately be reached for comment but the Guardian newspaper said it was disappointed with the ruling and would consider its next steps.

Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by Stephen Addison

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