LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union (all times local):
Britain’s information watchdog has fined a pro-Brexit campaign for breaking data laws in the lead-up to the country’s European Union membership referendum.
The Information Commissioner’s Office found Leave.EU sent political marketing messages to customers of an insurance firm owned by the group’s founder, Arron Banks. Insurance marketing materials were also sent to Leave.EU subscribers without sufficient consent.
Leave.EU and Eldon Insurance were fined a total of 120,000 pounds (,000).
Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said Friday it was “deeply concerning that sensitive personal data gathered for political purposes was later used for insurance purposes and vice versa.”
Leave.EU spokesman Andy Wigmore said the group would appeal, calling the fine “a politically motivated attack.”
Several investigations are underway into the funding of the victorious “leave” campaign in the 2016 referendum.
Senior government ministers have suggested Britain may need to delay its withdrawal from the European Union so Brexit doesn’t happen without a divorce deal in place.
A delay would need the approval of the 27 remaining EU states. Ireland’s Europe Minister, Helen McEntee, said the bloc would likely agree, as long as Britain had a good reason to postpone its March 29 departure. .
The sticking point to a deal for many British lawmakers is a border measure known as the “backstop.” It’s a safeguard mechanism that would keep the U.K. in a customs union with the EU after Brexit to remove the need for checks along the border between the U.K.’s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.
The border area was a flashpoint during decades of conflict in Northern Ireland that cost 3,700 lives. The free flow of people and goods across the near-invisible border today underpins both the local economy and Northern Ireland’s peace process.
A survey of some 1,200 British company directors suggests nearly a third may shift operations abroad because of Britain’s pending departure from the European Union.
The survey by the Institute of Directors showed Friday that while headlines have focused on big companies, less notice has been given to smaller businesses and their moves to relocate.
Institute interim director Edwin Morgan says smaller firms typically have tighter resources and for them “to be thinking about such a costly course of action makes clear the precarious position they are in.”
Britain’s Parliament voted this week to give Prime Minister Theresa May more time to try to seek a compromise with the EU. The government has refused to rule out leaving without a deal, leaving Britain lurching toward a cliff-edge departure March 29.
Follow AP’s full coverage of Brexit at: https://www.apnews.com/Brexit