The “vile” and “odious” Leave.EU appears to have had their domain name suspended, temporarily at least, following the pro-Brexit campaign group having transferred registration of their domain name to an Irish businessperson who denies any involvement in Leave.EU.
Following the end of the Brexit “transition period” which ended on 31 December, any remaining British .eu registrants, of which there were more than 80,000, found their domain names suspended, meaning any website or email for example that was associated with the domain names would not work. To be eligible to register a .eu domain name, one has to be a citizen of the European Union or the wider European Economic Area no matter where they live in the world, or be a business within the EU/EEA.
To get around this the hypocrites behind the Leave.EU domain name, who campaigned with some vile and disgraceful, even racist, lies, transferred registration of Leave.EU to an Irish businessperson based in Waterford, Ireland, who has said he has no knowledge of the registration or transfer. According to a report in The Guardian last week, Sean Power whose name appears on Leave.EU’s domain registration, insists he has never heard of the company.
“My lawyers are looking into this on my behalf presently and will be in touch as deemed necessary in due course,” said Power, the chief executive of Business Services Group, a Waterford-based company to The Guardian. “I have nothing to do with Leave.EU and never heard of it before yesterday.”
This led to Neale Richmond, a Fine Gael TD (member of parliament) for Dublin Rathdown and spokesman on European Affairs, raising the issue in Irish Dáil (parliament) and referring the Leave.eu campaign organisation to Ireland’s communications regulator ComReg following the Leave.EU’s relocation. Richmond also announced on 10 January he had written to the Data Protection Commissioner querying if Brexit campaign organisation, Leave.EU, which has recently relocated to Waterford, is GDPR compliant.
“Leave.eu is an odious campaign group that’s spread fear and disinformation throughout the Brexit referendum and subsequent negotiation process,” said Richmond in a statement on 8 January. “The group is the subject of numerous legal disputes and has a reprehensible record in the UK.”
A couple of days later Richmond released another statement saying “Following engagement with ComReg, I am pleased that the matter of whether Leave.EU is eligible for a.eu domain name or not has been referred to EURid. EURid is the non-profit organisation appointed by the European Commission as the domain name registry that operates the .eu top-level domain and its variants in other scripts.
“I have engaged with EURid to establish if Leave.EU have followed all the rules in order to maintain their lucrative domain name by registering in Ireland.
“In addition to this, I have written to Ireland’s data protection commissioner, Helen Dixon, to request her to investigate Leave.EU to ensure they are GDPR compliant. The General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy in the European Union and the European Economic Area, but not the UK.
“Given that Leave.EU maintain great swathes of personal information about their supporters and other persons, it must be ascertained if they are doing this in accordance with EU law following their relocation of convenience from the UK to Waterford.
“Leave.eu has previously been fined £60,000 for data breaches in the UK.
“In order to be GDPR compliant, Leave.EU would need to identify a Lead Supervisory Authority for Data Protection and would have to move under the jurisdiction of the Data Protection Commissioner and, by extension, the Data Protection Board.
“Furthermore, I have written to the Standards in Public Office (SIPO) to enquire if Leave.eu are now under Irish electoral rules when it comes to donations, expenditure and public expenditure.
“The pro-Brexit campaign group was fined £70,000 by the UK’s Electoral Commission for breaking spending rules in the 2016 Brexit referendum.
“Leave.EU’s recent move to Waterford must be rigorously scrutinised at every turn, this odious organisation has played a wholly negative role in British, Irish and European civic discourse for a number of years now,” Deputy Richmond said.
Moving forward to Friday the quietly Leave.EU website disappeared.
Andy Wigmore, one of the leaders of the Leave.EU campaign, who is so proud to be British he’s listed as having citizenship of Belize, a recognised tax haven, as well as the UK, is apoplectic of the move to suspend the domain name in comments to Euronews. He’s also praised Nazis, being quoted as saying “The propaganda machine of the Nazis, for instance – if you take away all the hideous horror and that kind of stuff – it was very clever, the way they managed to do what they did.
“In its pure marketing sense, you can see the logic of what they were saying, why they were saying it, and how they presented things, and the imagery. And that is propaganda. ISIS interestingly… And you know this, course you do.”
Wigmore wasn’t impressed the website disappeared Friday. “The timing is impeccable that the day after Mr Richmond’s churlish rant in the Irish Parliament, our website gets taken offline. It’s all very convenient”, Wigmore, who is also Leave EU’s head of communications told Foxhole News.
“We’ll be back up soon – our lawyers will be taking action against those (and they know who they are) who have broken those delicious EU laws they love so much,” Wigmore told The Guardian going even more unhinged.
Calling Richmond a “third-rate EU fanatic,” Wigmore added: “if he wants to make those cowardly defamatory allegations outside of parliamentary privilege let’s see how massive Billy big balls Neale is then.
“And any more nonsense from Brussels lovers like him and we may decide to put the full weight of Leave.EU behind the IREXIT campaign.”
As of Saturday at the time of writing there has been no statement as to the reasons behind the disappearance of the Leave.EU domain name’s website.
Looking at the possible reasons behind Leave.EU’s disappearance, Michele Neylon, founder and Managing Director of ICANN accredited registrar and hosting provider Blacknight, gave two possible reasons on his Internetnews.me blog:
- EURid got some kind of court order forcing them to take the domain name offline.
- The registry did a registration data quality check and it failed
Neylon wrote the EURid “receiving a court order of some kind in relation to leave.eu is pretty slim. I’d go so far as to say it’s highly improbable.”
However he believes EURid may have conducted a verification of registration data following articles such as those in The Guardian “which obviously failed. That might simply be because the emails would have been sent by EURid and most people have no idea who they are so they’d treat them as spam or possibly even an attempted phish.”
But I’ll give the last word to Richmond responding to a moaning tweet by Leave.EU, saying “Leave means leave lads, jog on.”