Brexit, Dark Money and the DUP
The story centres around a shady Scottish ‘organisation’ which goes by the name of the Constitutional Research Council. They donated a massive amount to the DUP during the EU referendum and this money was then used to fund a four-page wraparound pro-Brexit advertisement in the Metro Newspaper.
There were most likely two reasons the money was donated to the DUP. The first was because at that time it was permissible to donate anonymously in Northern Ireland. The second is that the official Vote Leave campaign had reached their legal spending cap. So it is probably that they essentially laundered money via the Constitutional Research Council and the DUP in order to subvert referendum spending rules.
All that is known about the Constitutional Research Council is that it is fronted by a high ranking Scottish Tory Party member called Richard Cook.
The DUP acted as a conduit for their money without seemingly asking any questions about where that money was coming from. They have been rewarded for their actions by the Prime Minister who is using them to prop up her administration. As such they have a lot of influence over the direction of a Brexit vote they helped to subvert.
Last week the BBC, to their credit, broadcast an investigation into Richard Cook and the Constitutional Research Council(I’ve posted the film below). Although that programme only seems to have been broadcast in Northern Ireland.
They discovered some interesting facts including the damning finding that it was Richard Cook who booked the costly pro-Brexit advertisement in the Metro. So we now conclusively know that the donation went to the DUP via Cook but Cook also arranged how that money would be spent on the UK mainland.
The documentary also unearthed details of Cook’s so-called business dealings. For instance, the environmental company he ran was really a scheme for illegally dumping UK waste in India. According to the film, Cook also profited from an unscrupulous business relationship with a convicted Ukrainian fraudster. Let’s not forget he is one of Scotland’s most influential Tory party members and a former candidate for election.
The film also looks at the connection between Vote Leave, the DUP, the Scottish Tories and Cambridge Analytica.
Unearthing how they worked together on the campaign when, under the rules, they should have been classed as separate organisations.
All in all, the BBC documentary is well worth 40 minutes of your time. It adds more evidence to the strong claim that the Scottish Tories actively helped to channel dodgy money into the Vote Leave campaign against election rules. This money funded an advertisement which would have been seen by many people. In a referendum that was so close, the difference between winning and losing could have been highly unethical.
A fact that neither Vote Leave, The Scottish Tories nor the DUP seem overly bothered about.
Enjoy the film below.