Parliamentarians in the United Kingdom on Monday published evidence about Brexit campaign group Leave.EU benefiting from work done by data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica before the June 2016 referendum, Reuters reported. Britain voted to exit the European Union in that referendum.
Cambridge Analytica is under scrutiny for allegedly harvesting the information of over 70 million Facebook users to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election in the United States as well.
“Leave.EU benefited from their work with Cambridge Analytica before the decision was made on which Leave campaign would receive the official designation for the referendum,” said Damian Collins, the head of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.
In transcripts of interviews that the UK parliamentary panel published, Nigel Oakes, the founder of Cambridge Analytica’s parent company SGL Group, said the consultancy would have worked with Leave.EU had it been chosen as the official campaign for Britain to leave bloc. Oakes claimed that “there was no contract and no money” but that they did demonstrate their capabilities.
Leave.EU official Andy Wigmore claimed – in the transcript of another interview that was published – that the campaign group had employed Cambridge Analytica’s data-gathering methods. This, Oakes said, raised “more questions about how Leave.EU developed their database” and whether they used in their campaign consumer data from other companies that they worked with.
Although Vote Leave became the official Brexit campaign group, Leave.EU did not stop its campaign. Leave.EU Founder Arron Banks had said his company did not work with Cambridge Analytica because of concerns about how the data would be used.