Dominic Cummings 'walked into a trap' says Charles Walker
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Shahmir Sanni claims comments former Downing Street chief advisor Dominic Cummings made in an interview with Laura Kuenssberg this week are simply repeating what he said in 2018. The 27-year-old originally revealed how Vote Leave deliberately broke the law by purporting to donate £625,000 to a youth group, BeLeave.
Instead of it being used by the group it was instead funnelled directly to data and ad-targeting firm AggregateIQ – which had links to Cambridge Analytica.
The Electoral Commission later found Vote Leave and BeLeave had committed “serious breaches” of the law by working together, and therefore overspending, and it called in the Metropolitan Police.
Vote Leave was later fined £61,000.
At the time Mr Sanni claimed his comments were largely ignored – including by the BBC – until they resurfaced this week.
In response, the Brexiteer tweeted: “Nearly every single thing (Mr) Cummings has said, I said three years ago when I blew the whistle.
“And the journalists that have been beaten over and over again by this country’s political class.
“Lauded as conspiracy theorists and charlatans. By the same people performing outrage now.”
He went on to accuse the BBC’s Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg of ignoring the issue until she interviewed Mr Cummings.
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He claimed: “All of this as well as the vilification of my work by the BBC News executive team is in the public realm.
“I can’t keep tweeting the same stuff over and over. Please use Google to your advantage. That interview was a strategic manoeuvre. Not journalism in the public interest.”
LBC James O’Brien quickly jumped to the Brexiteer’s defence and tweeted his support.
Responding to his post he wrote: “Damn right. Spare us the feigned ‘surprise’.
“People like Shahmir risked everything to tell you truths that the most powerful journalists in the country ignored or mocked.”
After Mr Sanni spoke out he claimed that he was the victim of a smear campaign.
Responding to his comments, Downing Street said he was the spurned lover of then Prime Minister Theresa May’s aide Stephen Parkinson – who had been a key figure at Vote Leave – and had fabricated the entire story.
But the evidence pointed to the contrary and the pro-Brexit groups were found to have breached electoral law.
In an appeal in 2019 the High Court agreed with the Electoral Commission’s assessment.
Commenting on the outcome, an Electoral Commission spokesperson said: “The Court of Appeal has ruled that our original interpretation of electoral law was correct.
“The judgment provides the necessary clarity about campaign donations for all those taking part in elections and referendums.
“It should reassure political parties, campaigners and their donors that the Commission’s guidance is accurate, up to date and reliable.
“In July 2018 we found significant evidence of undeclared joint spending between the lead campaigner in the EU referendum, Vote Leave, and another campaign group, BeLeave.
“We fined Vote Leave for this offence; they have since accepted and paid the fine. Today’s ruling does not affect that outcome.”
The BBC and Ms Kuenssberg have been contacted for comment.
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