Nigel Farage gives update on BBC apology and action against NatWest
Nigel Farage’s “debanking” is “just the tip of the iceberg” in terms of people being discriminated against for their views, former Tory minister Ann Widdecombe has said.
The decision by Coutts to cancel Mr Farage’s bank account earlier this month has proven enormously controversial, with the former UKIP and Brexit Party leader obtaining a dossier proving the NatWest-owned private bank took the decision because it had found his public statements did “not align” with its values.
The BBC subsequently apologised to the 59-year-old for claimed he had lacked the necessary funds to hold an account at Coutts.
NatWest CEO Dame Alison Rose resigned on Wednesday after admitting to being the source of the story, while Coutts counterpart Peter Flavel followed suit yesterday, explaining that it was “right that I bear ultimate responsibility for this”.
Ms Widdecombe told Express.co.uk: “The thing that nobody’s talking about is that he lost his bank account but then he said originally that he tried several multiple banks and they all refused.
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“So the question is on what grounds did they they refuse?
“We’ve all been focusing on Coutts and NatWest and everybody’s lost sight of that equally important statement, which is that having been turned down by one bank, he couldn’t get into another.
“What this tells us that what’s happening in Coutts is happening throughout the banking sector.”
Ms Widdecombe admitted: “It’s all surprised me actually, that the bank would go that far. It’s all surprised me.
“If it was easy for him to just move to another bank then you could say well, that was just Coutts’. But clearly it wasn’t just Coutts.”
Ms Widdecombe, a former Tory MP and Brexit Party MEP, stressed that the issue of discriminating against people based on their personal opinions stretched beyond the financial sector.
She explained: “This is just the tip of the iceberg. The government is focusing on the bank, whereas this sort of treatment is much more widespread than that.
“Businesses discriminate, local services discriminate and it’s time to get rid of woke across the entire system.
“We know that teachers have lost their jobs because they won’t teach more than two sexes.
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“We know it goes on already, it’s no big revelation, but nobody’s doing anything about it.”
Mr Farage’s decision to go public had already had an impact, Ms Widdecombe acknowledged.
She said: The government is already taking action, they’ve already called the banks in to tell them what they think.
“The government is actually doing something but my point is they are only doing it with the banks.”
Asked whether Dame Alison’s decision to quit drew a line under the situation, she added: “They can’t draw a line under it.
“I mean, it draws a line under it for her, but not under the whole issue.”
The debanking controversy rumbled on this week, with Gina Miller – unlike Mr Farage, a fierce opponent of Brexit – confirming that Monzo had closed the bank account of her fledgling political party True and Fair.
A Monzo spokeswoman said: “Like lots of banks, we do not accept any political parties as Monzo Business customers in the same way that we don’t currently accept trusts, clubs and a range of other organisations.
“In this case, the account wasn’t originally categorised as a political party.”
Mr Farage set aside his political differences to offer his sympathy, tweeting: “This is just plain wrong at every level. I stand with @thatginamiller.”
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