The Cambridge Analytica row looks set to move from the US presidential election to the EU referendum. After Christopher Wylie blew the whistle in the Observer and claimed that Cambridge Analytica used questionable Facebook data to win the US election, the paper looks set to re-focus its investigation on the Brexit campaign.
In an 8,000 word blog post, Dom Cummings – the Vote Leave strategist – says that the Observer and Channel 4 investigation has moved onto Brexit. Cummings says that the author behind the investigation – Carole Cadwalladr – has sent Vote Leave figures a list of questions concerning allegations from Wylie along with a number of new whistleblowers. He claims this is all part of an attempt to claim (a) Vote Leave was involved with Cambridge Analytica in a 'global conspiracy' involving a nine-month long fight for the designation as the official campaign (b) Vote Leave acted illegally in making donations to a number of campaign groups.
Although the full extent of the Observer and Channel 4 allegations are unknown, Cummings puts in a rather extensive rebuttal. Part of this, is an email showing that Wylie actually offered his services to Vote Leave – only to be rejected.
Cummings says the allegations are unfounded but predicts that there will be 'a mini SW1 frenzy' on Sunday but 'it will pass':
'Diehard Remain MPs and their media cheerleaders will scream hysterically about how this ‘amazing story’ shows ‘a dangerous network of extremists’ stretching ‘from the Kremlin to Silicon Valley’ has ‘undermined democracy’ and ‘cheated the referendum’. And, most importantly, they’ll argue that this justifies cancelling the last vote and fighting for a rematch. The main objective is to delegitimise VL’s victory and try to cancel the referendum result.'
Those on the Remain side – perhaps unsurprisingly – paint a different picture and suggest it's best to 'watch this space'. Thursday is the anniversary of Article 50 being triggered and they don't plan to let it go quietly.
What's particularly interesting about Cumming's blog is that he appears to not rule out the idea that the allegations could lead MPs to 'cancel the referendum and vote for another one' – if the 'current process collapses'. It promises to be a lively weekend for news.