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This week’s front page editor

Claire Provost

Claire Provost is editor of 50.50 covering gender, sexuality and social justice.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

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Who pays for our democracy?

Theresa May's allies, the Democratic Unionist Party, took £435,000 to campaign for Brexit and refuse to reveal who gave them the cash. Arron Banks, a key backer of the Leave campaign, appears to be not as rich as he claims – leaving questions about where all his Brexit campaign cash come from.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of pounds are funnelled to political parties through loopholes which allow donor anonymity. Who is bankrolling our politics? We want to find out the whole story.


Dark money investigations: what we’ve found out, and why we’re looking

For the past two years openDemocracy has been tracking down the secretive, wealthy donors trying to influence British politics unseen.

Right-wing think tank accused of promoting tobacco and oil industry “propaganda” in schools

The Institute of Economic Affairs’ magazine distributed to tens of thousands of British schoolchildren promotes tobacco tax cuts, climate change denial, tax havens, and privatising the NHS – but doesn’t say where its money comes from

Theresa May accused of "major cover-up" over Brexit donor Arron Banks

Home Office refuses openDemocracy’s request for information about investigation into Banks – saying this “would impede the future formulation of government policy”.

Brexit bankroller Arron Banks, Cambridge Analytica and Steve Bannon – explosive emails reveal fresh links

Brexit donor asked controversial Trump-linked data firm to 'come up with strategy' for fundraising in the US – and gave them access to personal information about British voters, according to new leaked emails

Revealed: How Arron Banks’s campaign ‘ambassador’ made his millions in Russia

Jim Mellon introduced Brexit ‘bad boys’ Nigel Farage and Arron Banks, and was a Leave.EU ambassador. He claims he hasn’t been involved in Russia since the 1990s. But our investigation shows he still has major financial exposure to Russian investments.

Revealed: Arron Banks’s staff crunched millions of voters’ data after Brexit vote

Whistleblower says Banks’s staff were told to ‘urgently’ process personal information on millions of voters after the referendum – and still had it months later. Why?

Whistleblowers say Arron Banks ‘misled’ viewers on BBC Andrew Marr show

Brexit funder said staff working for his controversial Leave campaign were put on different contracts, and declared to elections watchdog. But evidence seen by openDemocracy tells a very different story.

Arron Banks lied to parliament about his Brexit campaign, say whistleblowers

Major Brexit bankroller, now under investigation by the National Crime Agency, “deliberately misled” parliament about his insurance company’s political work, and amassed campaign data ‘warchest’

Revealed: Met Police ignored Brexit campaign evidence for months

Scotland Yard claimed it didn’t receive key evidence about Leave campaigns until September. But the evidence was ready from May. They just didn’t bother to collect it.

Police still not investigating Leave campaigns, citing ‘political sensitivities’

Exclusive: Months after Scotland Yard received ‘substantial’ evidence of potential criminality by pro-Leave groups, nothing has happened. Is the police probe destined for the political long-grass?

Our governments share responsibility for the Cambridge Analytica crisis… and here’s how they should fix it

Government must regulate before privatised military propaganda firms interfere with any more elections

How the Electoral Commission turned blind eye to DUP's shady Brexit cash

Emails reveal elections regulator was ‘concerned’ by revelations about mysterious £435,000 donation – but closed the case quickly without investigation.

The High Court case which could reveal the DUP's secret Brexit donors

The Good Law Project is taking the Electoral Commission to court to find out who was behind a huge donation that paid for Leave campaigning.

Major Scottish Tory funders fined over illegal donation

The Irvine Unionist Club donation funded 10% of Ruth Davidson’s campaign spending in 2016

‘Second’ bank account: MPs demand probe into Rees-Mogg’s Brexit group

Cross-party demands for an urgent investigation into the financial affairs of the European Research Group follow openDemocracy’s investigation.

The High Court found that Vote Leave broke the law in a new way

England & Wales's High Court has ruled that Vote Leave broke campaign spending limits in addition to the way that the Electoral Commission previously said they did.

Parliament watchdog probes Rees-Mogg’s hard Brexit lobby group over “other sources of funding”

EXCLUSIVE: Emails released by UK parliamentary standards watchdog reveal a ‘second’ bank account held by the powerful ERG group of Tory MPs, as they pressure May to abandon Chequers.

Opposition MPs call on PM to investigate former minister over hidden links to Tory ultra-Brexiteers

After openDemocracy revealed how former Brexit minister Steve Baker continued to work with the secretive European Research Group despite being in government, demands for Downing Street to investigate.

Truly Project Hate: the third scandal of the official Vote Leave campaign headed by Boris Johnson

Look at the Vote Leave Facebook adverts alongside their more public propaganda, and you see quite how much it promoted racist ideas.

Ex-Brexit minister Steve Baker remained in charge of secretive Tory ultra faction

Under the ministerial code, Baker was supposed to cut his ties with the European Research Group when he joined the government in 2017. But newly released emails show that as Brexit minister, he offered them private briefings on critical government policy.

Revealed: how the UK’s powerful right-wing think tanks and Conservative MPs work together

The Institute of Economic Affairs, accused of offering US donors access to government ministers, is among right-wing think tanks meeting monthly. Conservative MPs have attended, too.

The DUP’s Facebook ads for Brexit targeted voters outside Northern Ireland

Information released by Facebook shows the DUP said Brexit would be “better for our borders”.

The laws protecting Britain's democracy from big money are broken

You can be fined more for touting football tickets than you can for subverting Britain's democratic process.

Trump's visit marks the start of shock doctrine Brexit

The radical right want a no-deal Brexit so they can force Britain into a disaster capitalist trade deal with the USA.

"Serious flaw" in management of Brexit donor Arron Banks's charity

Charity Commission finds Love Saves the Day “inadequately” managed and administered. Trustees, including Banks and other senior Leave.EU staff, failed to properly account for charitable funds.

Liam Fox caught in fresh “lobbyists as advisers” scandal

Former Legatum trade chief Shanker Singham takes role with commercial lobbying firm – while also advising key Brexit minister Liam Fox.

Revealed: New evidence of ‘Hard Brexit svengali’ Shanker Singham’s ‘unparalleled access’ to senior government figures

Labour’s Liam Byrne says former Legatum trade advisor’s influence over Brexit policymakers ‘beggars belief’.

Arron Banks and the missing £11m for Brexit

His pro-Leave lobby groups raised nearly £12m – but claim they spent less than £1m during the ‘official’ Brexit campaign. So where did the rest go? Andy Wigmore says he has "no idea"

Scotland in Union held talks with Cambridge Analytica

The vice-chair of the campaign against Scottish independence met with the controversial data firm months after revelations about their involvement in Trump’s campaign came out.

Arron Banks and Brexit’s offshore secrets

In 2015, Arron Banks’s insurance business was bailed out. Where the rescue money came from is unclear—but as the Electoral Commission probes the sources of the Leave donor’s campaign contributions, a group of accountants who specialise in offshore “wealth preservation” may hold the key.

Not everyone agrees with Arron Banks about the value of his diamond mines

The ‘bad boy’ who bankrolled Brexit says he’s struck it lucky in Africa. But do his claims of a ‘significant find’ stand up? And who’s he been doing business with there?

Cambridge Analytica is what happens when you privatise military propaganda

You can't understand the Cambridge Analytica scandal until you understand what its parent company does.

'Crimes' committed by Brexit campaigners? One extraordinary coincidence offers a new clue

Did Vote Leave abuse the rules to 'spend as much as necessary' to win? We've uncovered a small but revealing error which calls into question all their denials.

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