Brexit: Arron Banks dines with DUP after MPs' grilling

Lawmakers want to question Brexit backer on Russia meetings

Lawmakers want to question Brexit backer on Russia meetings

Arron Banks, the pro-Brexit financier, told MPs that he thought it would be worthwhile meeting a Russian businessman fronting a gold-mining deal at the suggestion of the country's ambassador in the United Kingdom, but pulled out after City grandees warned him not to become more deeply involved. You may have better intel than me.

Today, he said there were numerous errors in the Guardian's "fake news" reporting of his activities, that is regularly tweeted by Mr. Collins. I have got no business interests in Russian Federation, ' he said.

But, accusing the MPs of being Remain voters trying to discredit Brexit, he said Leave.EU succeeded by "ruthlessly" focusing on immigration, which mattered to voters but not to Labour or the Conservatives, and by effectively using social media.

After the hearing, Mr Collins said: "Mr Banks and Mr Wigmore themselves put on the record that they frequently lie, exaggerate, misspeak and misunderstand".

Banks and Wigmore confirmed that Leave.EU had lodged an appeal against an Electoral Commission finding the organisation breached spending rules during the referendum.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid revealed on Monday before Mr Banks' appearance in front of the parliamentary Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee that his Russian links were being examined by ministers from two separate government departments.

Earlier, Mr Banks told the committee he does not have any business interests in Russian Federation.

EU referendum
EU referendum

"If the French ambassador called up and asked to meet you for lunch, you'd go".

According to details of emails reported by the Sunday Times and the Observer, Mr Banks and Mr Wigmore also discussed potential business opportunities in Russian Federation including a proposal involving six gold mines.

Banks was being questioned by a committee of lawmakers who are investigating his ties to Cambridge Analytica, the political consultancy at the center of a scandal over the misuse of millions of Facebook (FB.O) users' data. Mr. Wigmore described his role during the referendum as an "agent provocateur" who made fun of people to get attention. The only information they gave the ambassador was the phone number for the Trump transition team, Mr. Banks said. "It's about emotion, and you have got to tap into that emotion".

The businessman and Brexit-backer said anti-Brexit journalists assumed "there must be a conspiracy" because he and his colleague Andy Wigmore, a diplomat, had lunched with the Russian ambassador, but "there has been no definitive evidence of anything".

"You have to take a slight pinch of salt because we were running a campaign deliberately aimed at making fun of people", Banks said.

"When foreign powers are aggressively targeting the values, systems and institutions upon which our democracy is built, then it's absolutely essential that we have regulatory, security and intelligence-based organisations who are ready, willing and able to intervene", Kinnock said.

Before questioning had even begun, Wigmore challenged Damian Collins' right to chair the hearing, following reports on the Guido Fawkes website that the MP had received tickets to Stamford Bridge worth £1,000.

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