Shapps hints at law change to protect ‘free speech’ after Nigel Farage’s Coutts account closure

Grant Shapps has condemned the “completely disgraceful” choice by Coutts to shut Nigel Farage’s accounts.

New paperwork, supplied to The Telegraph newspaper by the previous UKIP chief, seem to point out the financial institution opted to shut Mr Farage’s account after it was determined his views “don’t align with our values”.

A file detailing Mr Farage’s feedback about Brexit, his friendship with Donald Trump and his views on LGBT rights was thought of by a reputational threat committee. 

The previous Brexit occasion chief was in the end “exited”.


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Writing in The Telegraph, Mr Farage railed: “I imagine Coutts focused me on private and political grounds, for its report reads slightly like a pre-trial temporary drawn up by the prosecution in a case towards a profession legal.”

The BBC had beforehand advised the Brexit chief fell under the monetary threshold wanted to carry an account with Coutts.

Responding to the information this morning, Mr Shapps, the vitality safety and internet zero secretary, instructed Sky Information: “I believe it’s completely disgraceful. I don’t should agree with the whole lot Nigel Farage says to recognise that free speech is a really, essential a part of our home life.

“What’s occurred by a few of these banks with the regime which is called the PEP regime is basically truly scandalous. Individuals shouldn’t have their banks closed due to their political or some other view, and banks shouldn’t be refusing to open accounts on that foundation as effectively.”

Mr Shapps was referring to Politically Uncovered Individuals or PEPs, who’re people world wide deemed to “distinguished public features”. At the moment, the legislation recognises the chance of PEPs abusing their positions for personal achieve and utilizing the monetary system to launder the proceeds of this abuse.

UK legislation requires “gatekeepers” to the monetary system to carry out enhanced checks on PEPs, their households and their recognized shut associates. Corporations must have measures in place to determine PEPs, assess the extent of threat they pose, and handle the connection appropriately.

Requested if the legislation would possibly want to vary in mild of Mr Farage’s case, Mr Shapps continued: “It might be. We’ll do no matter is required. However I believe within the first place, the Monetary Conduct Authority must get a grip of this.

“And I do know that ministers within the Treasury, Andrew Griffiths specifically, is definitely performing on this, so we are able to anticipate to see extra.”

This morning, shadow levelling up minister Alex Norris was additionally requested if MPs ought to legislate on the matter.

He stated: “Particulars are simply rising. We do know the regulator for banking is rightly difficult — I’ve spent the week battling my financial institution on PEP restrictions – and it’s proper they’re doing the method correctly.”

He added: “I’d wish to know what downside we had been fixing earlier than we had been saying that new laws was essential, and I dare say the details we are going to quickly discover out within the days and weeks to come back.”

Commenting on Mr Farage’s run-in with Coutts earlier this month, prime minister Rishi Sunak stated the best to free speech needed to be revered “and that shouldn’t be an excuse to shut anybody’s account”.

In his Telegraph piece, Mr Farage wrote: “Probably the most extraordinary feedback of all are the areas of the report speaking about me ‘not aligning with [Coutts’s] views’ and suggesting I have to be barred as a result of I don’t help the range, insurance policies and ‘objective’ of Coutts, as if Britain is a political regime and I’m a dissident”.