Nigel Farage says Coutts manager should go
Nigel Farage has offered his sympathies to vehement Brexit critic Gina Miller – after she, like him, was “debanked”.
Controversy has been raging ever since Mr Farage revealed earlier this month that his account with NatWest-owned private bank Coutts had been closed.
The former UKIP and Brexit Party leader subsequently obtained a dossier proving the decision was taken because his political opinions did not align with the bank’s values – despite claims to the contrary.
Earlier this week Mr Farage was offered an apology by the BBC for its coverage of the issue, while both Dame Alison Rose and Peter Flavel, the CEOs of NatWest and Coutts respectively, have since resigned from their posts.
Yesterday it emerged Ms Miller, who launched two successful legal challenges against Brexit following the 2016 referendum, was having problems of her own related to her attempt to set up a bank account for her True and Fair political party two years ago.
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Finally she managed to open one with Monzo – only to receive an email earlier this month saying they were closing her account, without offering any reason. A subsequent statement explained the decision stemmed from the bank’s policy of not accepting any political parties as business customers.
Referring to the 58-year-old businesswoman’s Twitter handle, Mr Farage subsequently tweeted: “This is just plain wrong at every level. I stand with @thatginamiller.”
Mr Farage also revealed he had been deluged with similar stories since revealing his “debanking” by Coutts.
He tweeted: “Since I told my story, I’ve been inundated with messages from others in genuine distress.
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“Thousands have also suffered the indignity of being debanked. It is a national scandal.
“Tomorrow, I will launch a new campaign to defend those who have been treated badly by the big banks.”
Also speaking yesterday, Ms Miller noted that Mr Farage had been offered an alternative account with NatWest and said her case pointed to wider issues.
She said: “What I’m saying is actually even bigger than that, which is how can we have a proper functioning democracy if we can’t have new parties or new elected people.”
She also raised concerns over newly-elected MPs being de-banked due to lenders using rules around politically exposed persons (PEP) in a “dysfunctional way”.
Her True and Fair Party is standing nine candidates in the next general election, with Ms Miller running against Tory former minister Chris Grayling in Epsom, Ewell and Leatherhead.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak weighed in to say his Government was taking “tough action” to protect the free speech of banking customers.
NatWest chief executive Dame Alison quit after both Downing Street and the Treasury expressed their “serious concerns” about her conduct after she admitted to being the source of an incorrect BBC report on the former Ukip leader’s finances.
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