Lawyers and MPs condemn plan to interview Brexiter under criminal investigation
The BBC has been criticised for booking Arron Banks, the pro-Brexit billionaire who is the subject ofa criminal investigation, to appear on the Andrew Marr show on Sunday.
Banks is being investigated by the National Crime Agency (NCA) after his case was referred to it by the Electoral Commission, which said there were reasonable grounds to suspect Banks was “not the true source” of £8m given to the Leave.EU campaign.
Arron Banks faces criminal inquiry over Brexit campaign
The BBC’s decision provoked widespread condemnation from politicians, lawyers and activists.
Andrew Adonis, a leading remain campaigner, said in a letter to the BBC that Banks’s expected appearance was the result of “a very serious editorial misjudgment, influenced by a culture of accommodation to extreme Brexiteers now deeply embedded within the BBC”.
Caroline Lucas MP and Molly Scott Cato MEP, both Green party politicians, wrote an open letter criticising the decision to allow Banks to “spread misinformation at our expense”.
Molly Scott Cato MEP
Here’s the email to the BBC sent by myself and @CarolineLucas explaining why they should reverse their decision to give a platform to Arron Banks
Please continue with your own complaints about this appalling decision@TheGreenParty pic.twitter.com/5vnXwkY0iy
November 3, 2018
Jo Maugham QC, the director of the Good Law Project, tweeted: “How robust Andrew Marr’s questioning is – and he is a good interviewer – is completely beside the point. The interview is an invitation to viewers to choose between what the independent regulator has said and what Arron Banks says. That is a false and dangerous equivalence.”
The BBC spoke to Banks at Gatwick airport on Saturday morning as he returned to the UK from Bermuda.
When asked about the origin of the funds, Banks said: “I certainly won’t be showing you. You know, we’re going to cooperate with the NCA and they’ll have visibility into our accounts.” When pressed further, he said: “Goodbye, I’m not talking to you.”
According to Andy Wigmore, a close associate of Banks, access to the accounts in question has been released to the BBC prior to Sunday’s show, and Banks is expected to refer to a legal opinion to demonstrate that the financial dealings in question were legitimate.
The Electoral Commission said it suspected Banks had tried to knowingly conceal the origin of the money, and that the money was provided through a company based in the Isle of Man.
It said in a report: “Leave.EU, Elizabeth Bilney (the responsible person for Leave.EU), BFTC, Mr Banks, and possibly others, concealed the true details of these financial transactions, including from us, and also did so by knowingly making statutory returns/reports which were incomplete and inaccurate, or false.”
Both Bilney and Banks deny any wrongdoing, with the latter posting a flurry of tweets on Friday evening.
“The Electoral Commission have made a public statement without producing any evidence,” he said. “I am happy to be robustly interviewed.”
In a statement, the BBC said: “There is a strong public interest in an interview with Arron Banks about allegations of funding irregularities in relation to Leave.EU and the 2016 EU referendum.
“The Electoral Commission has laid out concerns about this in public and it is legitimate and editorially justified for Andrew Marr to question Mr Banks robustly about them, which he will do on Sunday morning.”
The Labour MP Ben Bradshaw wrote to Theresa May on Friday to ask whether the government had blocked requests to conduct an investigation into Banks, amid repeated allegations that an inquiry was prevented during her time as home secretary.
With many thanks to: The Guardian for the original story
Two Terrorist Supporters elected as MPs Emma ‘Little’ Pengelly (MP) and Gavin Robinson (MP).
And now talk of Sinn Féin talking of taking their seats in Westminster to defeat the Tory party and try and stop Brexit.
Arlene Foster now holds the playing cards but there is still two very difficult questions for her answer. “How can she work both deals”
(1) In the negotiations Here in the North of Ireland. Where there is no government?
(2) In the negotiations in England where the Tories are “up shit creak without a paddle.”?
She even went on to speak in Irish using the words “Sin É” pronounced in English as (Shin A) meaning “That’s it”.
This could not only force another re-election in the North of Ireland, but also another re-election in England, Scoland & Wales.
It would be a complete disaster for the Conservite’s and the DUP, here in the North of Ireland (Northern Ireland). The English people as a nation need to watch their backs. Don’t trust a Tory and don’t trust ‘The DUP’!
In 2015, The DUP built it’s election campaign around the idea that that it’s MPs might be Kingmakers at Westminster. Their posters bore the a the slogan “More Votes. More Seats. More Influence. More for Northern Ireland”. When David Cameron won his majority, that strategy was quietly forgotten.
“While I was writing this it was confirmed that the DUP has reached a deal with the Tory party. A DUP Sourcesaid:“We want there to be a government. We have worked well with May. The Alternative is intolerable. For as long as Corbyn leads Labour, We will ensure there’s a ToryP.M.”was written in the: The guardian, Newspaper.
The Tories are now in very serious trouble the backbenchers are unhappy WIth the ‘New collation between the tory’s and the DUP.
But come on be honest, by you looking at a picture like that (picture below). Would you trust Boris Johnson? Honestly? because I wouldn’t.
All 18 of the North of Ireland’s MPs have been confirmed with the SDLP and UUP losing their seats at Westminster.
The final result came in Fermanagh and South Tyrone where the UUP’s Tom Elliottlost to Sinn Féin’s Michelle Gildernew M.P.
Former SDLP Party Leaders Mark Durkan, Margaret Richie and Alasdair McDonnell were toppled in Foyle, South Down and Belfast South.
In Foyle, Sinn Féin’s Elisha Mc Callion won by 169 votes after a recount.
But that’s the position the 10 newly returned MPs are in, despite Arlene Foster predicting it did “not look likely” at the campaign outset. And latter saying “It would be difficult to do a deal”.
The DUP party has been criticised in the past for sharing platforms with representatives of loyalist paramilitaries.
In 1996, former MP Rev William McCrea stood ata Portadown rally alongside LVF leader Billy Wright (pictured below).
The ruthless paramilitary group, which split from the UVF in 1996, was responsible for high-profile murders including the killing of Catholic taxi driver Michael McGoldrick.
In the mid-1980s the DUP also had close links with Ulster Resistance, set up in response to the Anglo-Irish Agreement.
The group was launched in 1986 at a rally in the Ulster Hall in Belfast addressed by then DUP leader Ian Paisley.
Peter Robinson, who at the time was his party’s deputy leader, was later photographed at another Ulster Resistance rally wearing a beret.
The party cut ties with the group in 1987 when members were linked to arms finds.
The father of the DUP’s Emma Little Pengelly, who has just won the South Belfast seat, is Noel Little, a Co Armagh loyalist and founder of Ulster Resistance.
Little was one of three men arrested in Paris in 1989 in connection with a plot to exchange a missile stolen from Shorts for South African guns.
After spending two years on remand the trio received suspended sentences and fines.
The weapons they sought to procure were destined for the UVF, UDA and Ulster Resistance.
In 2014 the DUP and other unionist parties were also criticised for joining the UVF-linked PUP in signing up to a ‘graduated response’ following the banning of an Orange Order parade in Ardoyne, north Belfast.
The ‘graduated response’ later failed to materialise after the PUP, TUV and Ukip withdrew their support for the pan-unionist group amid allegations of “betrayal” over parading.
In June 2017 Arlene Foster was criticised over meeting a UDA leader just days after a breakaway faction of the paramilitary organisation was linked to a brutal murder.
The DUP leader spoke with Jackie McDonald at a community office in the Taughmonagh area of south Belfast on Tuesday during canvassing ahead of next week’s general election.
In February, before Assembly election, he urged voters to get behind Mrs Foster saying her “experience and dedication has helped bring about stability and prosperity.
What voters in Britain make of Tory ‘kingmakers’
GIVEN how dear the DUP holds the union with Britain, relatively few people in the rest of the UK are familiar with the party and its policies.
As it became apparent on Friday that Theresa May planned to form a government with Arlene Foster’s party, social media was filled with contributors offering insights into Westminister’s ‘Kingmakers’.
Notably, in the relatively liberal social climate of England, Scotland and Wales, the DUP’s conservative world view was highlighted in mostly pejorative terms.
Here’s a sample: Singer Paloma Faith tweeted: “DUP = awful: anti abortion anti LGBT rights anti woman’s rights and don’t believe in climate change. Very modern (sniff)”.
Left-leaning economist Richard Murphy, who has previously been vocal in his opposition to devolving corporation tax power’s to Stormont, said on Twitter: “If I had to choose a party to have undue influence over government the DUP would be the last barring UKIP. They’re a nightmare of prejudice.”
Environmentalist and Guardian columnist George Monbiot highlighted the links between the DUP and UDA, which just days ago added its voice to the Loyalist Communities Council statement urging voters to back Mrs Foster’s party at the polls. “I trust that The Daily Mail will now devote it’s first 13 pages to the #DUP’s associations with terrorism,” he tweeted.
Veteran Journalists and Channel 4 News anchorman Jon Snow tweeted: “One of the most extreme politicial entities in the British Isles, the 10 MPs of the DUP, is to wag the tail of Mrs May’s minority government.”
Former Liverpool footballer Stan Collymore posted an article from The Irish News which bore the headline ‘Arlene Foster has no regrets after being pictured with UDA Commander [Dee Stitt].
Under it the Talksport contributor wrote: “Come on Dacre and Murdoch and Hopkins and Robinson and Tories. Where’s your outrage now?”
Belfast-born former ITN foreign correspondent Andrea Catherwood tweeted: “Wait until you hear DUP’s views on homosexuality. They make Tim Farrin look like Peter Thatchell.”
Some, however, such as columnist Polly Toynbee misinterpreted the DUP’s priorities. “DUP top priority will be soft border, saving Good Friday agreement and free movement across boundary. That absolutely rules out hard Brexit,” she tweeted.
438 DAY’S INTERNED WITHOUT TRIAL IN A BRITISH PRISON. THERESA MAY WILL TAKE AWAY ALL OUR HUMAN RIGHTS.
Thinking off Lorraine Taylor her children and the entire family circle as they await today’s decision from Tony’s hearing.
A farcical hearing where two days of testimony was given to a closed court by unaccountable British intelligence agency’s . The same discredited agency’s that use every dirty trick in the book to coerce, bully and blackmail vulnerable citizens into becoming informers then throw them to the wolves when they are no longer required or in order to save other agents. The same unaccountable agencies that gave evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that led to millions losing their lives. All lies and an excuse in the name of greed. And yet the great and the good talk about democracy. Ruling by fooling a great British art with great Irish fools to practice on
A WEST Belfast man who intends to stand in next year’s council elections has accused the BBC of “bias” after he was banned from the audience of a current affairs show.
Human Rights campaigner Ciaran Mulholland, who is also a well-known figure in the legal profession, said he was allocated tickets for the Spotlight Special programme recorded last Tuesday. However, just hours before the show was due to be recorded he was contacted by the BBCand told he would not be allowed to take his seat. The panel on the question and answer programme included Shame Fein education minister John O’Dowd and DUP enterprise minister Arlene Foster. Mr Mulholland said he applied for tickets and was contacted by a Spotlight staff member who asked him what questions he would put to panelists. He said he revealed at that point his intention to run in next year’s local government elections on an independant ticket, but was sent the ticket without question. In January the BBC also faced bias accusations after dozens of loyalists packed the studio of a Stephen NolanTV show and heckled nationalist politicians. At the time corporation cheifs refused to reveal how many complaints it received from members of the public. Mr Mulholland beleives he has been unfairly treated. “They said they revoked my invite because I was a ‘politician’,” he said. “I think it was an over-zealous approach and uterly biased and discriminatory. “They only want to provide a platform for the politicial status quo and people who offer an alternative veiw don’t seem to get an equal opportunity.” A spokeswoman for the BBC said as far as she is aware there is no written criteria for audience selection on programmes. However, she added: “Spotlight Special gives ordinary members of the public a chance to put questions to a panel and have their say. “On that basis, audiences for this programme do not normally include elected represtantives or those who declare an interest in participating in upcoming elections.”
Remember Peter McBride today. On 4 September 1992, the unarmed, 18-year-old father of two young daughters was shot dead by two Scots Guardsmen in the New Lodge area of Belfast. Guardsmen Mark Wright and James Fisher stopped, searched and questioned McBride; and then, as he was walking away, Wright and Fisher shot him dead from a range of 70 yards, hitting him twice in the back.
The two soldiers were taken to Girdwood Army Barracks, where the RUC were denied access to them for at least 10 hours. But the next day, Wright and Fisher were charged with murder.
In February 1995, Wright and Fisher were convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. At their trial, the two claimed that they shot at McBride because they believed he was “carrying a coffee-jar bomb.” However, Lord Chief Justice Kelly concluded that Wright and Fisher had plenty of time to determine what McBride was carrying, if anything, when they searched him. Moreover, in his ruling, Kelly wrote that the two guardsmen had “lied about critical elements of their version of events…and deliberately chose to put forward a version which they both knew to be untrue.”
Still, Wright and Fisher each served only six years of their life-term sentences! In September 1998, just two days before the sixth anniversary of McBride’s murder, the two were released and permitted to resume serving in the british army, where they both received promotions!
In 2003, Wright was discharged from the army for medical reasons following a shooting injury to his wrist that he sustained in Iraq, but Fisher remains as a soldier serving in the British army
A TEENAGER has been bombarded with threatening and abusive messages from loyalist internet trolls after appearing in a BBC documentary about the Twelfth. Tania Lavery was forced to delegate her Twitter account after receiving a barrage of of offensive messages including death threats and rape threats.
The 19-year-old took part in the BBC Three show Petrol Bombs and Peace: Welcome 🙂 mentto Belfastwhich focused on Twelfth of July tensions in the north of the city. One alarming image posted following the broadcast on Monday evening attempted to identify her Ardoyne home. Ms Lavery’s experience comes amid increasing concern over Twitter trolls – people who send abusive messages using the social network – threatening rape and violence against women. Labour MP Stella Crash is among a host of high-profile recent targets. Earlier this week it also emerged that 14-year-old Leicestershire scoolgirl Hanna Smith had taken her own life as a result of relentless cyber bullying on the Ask.FM social-networking site. Ms Lavery, a former pupil of Holy Cross Primary School, said she is afraid to be in her own home and has had difficulty sleeping since receiving the death threats.
“A man wrote that he hopes I get raped at the bus stop and talked about how I’m a tramp, that I’m a bigoted scumbag,” she said. “My phone literally wouldn’t stop because I had over a hundred friend requests on Facebook. “They found my Twitter and they found my YouTube because I sing and they are making fun of it. “I deleted my Twitter because people were just making up lies.” The documentary followed BBC reporter Alys Harte as she spoke to Orange bandsmen and young Catholics in Ardoyne ahead of this year’s Twelfth. Ms Slavery and her friend Rosin Holmes (18), are from a Catholic background, gave their views and told of their experiences. Both have since received abuse online. Ms Slavery said she was determined to cope with the threats. “They think that all this stuff is going to change who I am but it’s not,” she said. “Yes, I am afraid to be in my house and I’m afraid to go outside on my own but it’s not going to change me.” Ms Slavery said some Orange men involved in the programs had sent her supportive messages online. “The guy that messaged me said we should all go for a drink sometime, even though we were both on the show and we clearly had different opinions,” she said.