‘They fired me, smeared me and at­tempted to si­lence me’

The Observer - - News - Shah­mir Sanni

I have been vin­di­cated. Once again. In July, the Elec­toral Com­mis­sion con­firmed the truth of my story and found Vote Leave guilty of break­ing the law. And now, the Tax­Pay­ers’ Al­liance has ef­fec­tively ad­mit­ted that it broke the law by fir­ing me, smear­ing me and at­tempt­ing to si­lence me.

Bri­tain knows now that in­sti­tu­tions like the Tax­Pay­ers’ Al­liance are play­ing a dirty game. A game that in this case, meant com­mit­ting mul­ti­ple un­law­ful acts. But this goes much deeper than that. It goes to the heart of the Bri­tish es­tab­lish­ment and ex­poses a covert re­la­tion­ship that op­er­ates be­tween the govern­ment, th­ese “think­tanks” and the me­dia.

In not con­test­ing my claim, the TPA has ad­mit­ted that it is part of a net­work of rightwing think­tanks – in­clud­ing the In­sti­tute of Eco­nomic Af­fairs, the Adam Smith In­sti­tute, Brexit Cen­tral and oth­ers – that have the ears of cabi­net min­is­ters and MPs. It is a net­work that at­tempted to stop my ev­i­dence be­com­ing pub­lic, and that used the me­dia to try and dis­credit me.

This can­not go on. Broad­cast­ers and jour­nal­ists can­not con­tinue to pro­vide a plat­form to this net­work of or­gan­i­sa­tions that have so ob­vi­ously tried to cover up un­law­ful ac­tiv­ity. And they can no longer get away with hid­ing the true ori­gins of their fi­nanc­ing and in­flu­ence. We need a full in­quiry into how Matthew El­liott, head of Vote Leave and founder of the Tax­Pay­ers’ Al­liance, un­der­mined the find­ings of the Elec­toral Com­mis­sion by leak­ing its re­port, and was then pro­vided with a plat­form by the BBC to call me a “fan­ta­sist” and a “liar” as part of a cam­paign of vil­i­fi­ca­tion.

Many of the em­ploy­ees who ap­pear reg­u­larly on tele­vi­sion played a part in Vote Leave’s il­le­gal over­fund­ing scheme. The Tax­Pay­ers’ Al­liance and their friends can­not be al­lowed to pa­rade on our me­dia when they have so bla­tantly bro­ken the law. This must now end.

Who funds th­ese or­gan­i­sa­tions? Whose views do they re­ally rep­re­sent? What are their re­la­tion­ships with min­is­ters and govern­ment? And why are they so de­ter­mined to en­sure that Brexit goes through, no mat­ter how many laws they have to break? We have a right to know.

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