A short response to Dominic Cummings

The judicial review brought by the Good Law Project caused the Electoral Commission to reopen its investigation into whether Vote Leave and Beleave were working together such that their spending must be aggregated. It has the evidence and it, rather than Dominic Cummings or Boris Johnson, will have to decide.

And, in consequence of that judicial review, no later than July the High Court too will have to decide whether the donations – if properly analysed there were donations – of services or cash by Vote Leave to Beleave count as Vote Leave’s spending.

The High Court may also comment on whether, as Dominic Cummings claims, the Electoral Commission gave him permission to make those ‘donations’. My own view is that it doesn’t much matter. My particular concern is not with whether Vote Leave had a reason to overspend but with whether the referendum took place as our Parliament mandated. If the Electoral Commission misunderstood the law and gave Vote Leave a permission it shouldn’t have then that will just make it all the clearer that the referendum was mismanaged; that it did not take place as Parliament intended.

So, on these matters, I don’t feel any particular need to respond to Mr Cummings’ excitable claims. The Electoral Commission and High Court can address them.

He does, however, advance three false allegations about me in this paragraph:

Accusations from the dishonest @Jolyon that Vote Leave did not have permission from the EC to give donations to other campaigns were disproved in open court just days ago when the documents were revealed, and @Jolyon was criticised by the court for his conduct.

First, he claims I denied the existence of the Electoral Commission advice. That, I am afraid, is just nonsense. The position I have consistently adopted is stated here (there are many other examples):

Indeed, my belief has been that some advice may well exist, see, of many examples I could cite, this:

Second, he asserts I am “dishonest”. He advances no basis for that allegation and there is none to be advanced.

Third, he asserts I was criticised by the court for my conduct. You can read the judgment here. It contains no such criticism.

He has no ball to play so ineptly he strikes out at the man.

But the ball is still there: did the referendum take place as Parliament mandated? Or was it mismanaged and unfair such that it cannot be said to have delivered the will of the people?

These are questions the Electoral Commission and the High Court will now answer.

6 thoughts on “A short response to Dominic Cummings

  1. QUOTE – “My particular concern is not with whether Vote Leave had a reason to overspend but with whether the referendum took place as our Parliament mandated. If the Electoral Commission misunderstood the law and gave Vote Leave a permission it shouldn’t have then that will just make it all the clearer that the referendum was mismanaged; that it did not take place as Parliament intended” – UNQUOTE

    I think the referendum took place exactly as was intended but, unfortunately, the result came as a surprise. I don’t think there is much to be gained by quibbling over legalities – the real result is yet to emerge. And it looks increasingly likely that commonsense will prevail and Brexit will be in name only.

  2. I would have expected U.K. law on defamation to have constrained anyone tempted to label a QC “dishonest” in such a Trumpian manner.

  3. This is shocking stuff. But can Parliament be persuaded in any case to vote to re-run the referendum? In order to do so it must persuade itself that the UK can revoke Article 50.
    Presently, the best it can do is to hope EU27 will agree. How can Parliament act unless it is sure that it can accomplish what it intends should happen in these circumstances – for the UK to remain in the EU should the people now desire it?
    The clock is ticking. UK will Brexit in 12 months unless Article 50 is revoked or extended.

  4. Caroline Cadwalladr
    Jolyon Maugham
    Best for Britain
    What is ‘conspiracy to defame’, caller?
    Are we locked up tight, caller?
    Have you checked all your back doors, caller?

  5. wonderful analysis………….Mr Cummings has not a leg to stand on

  6. Dishonest – you are crystal clear at times that you want the UK to remain an EU member. Except when you are clear that what you want is to check if the referendum was conducted in the way Parliament intended
    – you never address the primary fiscal purpose of the EU, and prime feature of the customs union and who it protects, yet laud remaining an EU member ( you might have addressed this, but I haven’t seen it )
    – you have made claims that the UK will be worse off compared to now, and implied that this is supported by impact assessments and other analysis which say no such thing

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