Arron Banks, in a spat with Alastair Campbell on Twitter, tweeted he will be taking a lie detector test on Wednesday. He stated that he would be inviting Damian Collins and Alastair Campbell to do the same with “3 suggested questions”. Will they take him up on the offer?
An avid supporter of the official Leave.EU Campaign the Bristol based multi-millionaire allegedly donated £12 million to pro Brexit campaigners.
A bit like Marmite people either love or hate Banks for his support of Brexit. Educated privately, little is known about how Banks made his money. Most people associate him with insurance providers ‘Go Skippy’ but since he has mostly offshore investments detailed analysis of his wealth is not easy.
The Electoral Commission has investigated donations totalling over £2 million that Banks donated to the official Leave.EU campaign. Doubt was cast that the money did not belong to him but came from other sources.
Departure from the Conservative Party
Banks was a relatively obscure figure, as far as the general public is concerned, before 2014. Prior to this he had donated funds to the Tory Party but in 2014 he changed his allegiance to UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party). At the time he pledged to donate £100,000 to UKIP but instead donated £1 million. His generosity was inspired by the British Foreign Secretary of the time, William Hague who when asked about Banks departure from the Conservative Party stated he had no idea who he was. Banks felt increasing the size of the donation would remind Hague of who he was.
Banks is now a well-known figure to most people with an interest in politics and specifically the EU Referendum. He has been seen on the front pages of many tabloids in the company of Nigel Farage. Indeed he was one of the first people involved in UK politics, who met the President of the United States, Donald Trump, subsequent to his inauguration.
Arron Banks Russian connections
Critics of Banks have suggested in recent weeks that he may have obtained finance from Russians to make donations to the Brexit campaign. Allegations abound that he met with Russian officials prior to the Referendum.
These allegations among others have inspired Banks to take a lie detector test having already given evidence to the Electoral Commission last month.
Can you fool a lie detector test?
Critics of the lie detector test have already taken to Twitter, merrily tweeting that they are unreliable. Few appreciate that certain conditions have to be met for the tests to be reliable. For example you cannot drink alcohol or take drugs for 24 hours before the test. The polygraph examiner must be experienced, qualified and accredited to guarantee the correct analysis of the results.
There is a pre-test interview which can last up to two hours and the test can take up to 3 hours. It has to be conducted in a controlled, quiet environment with no interruptions. Questions are structured in conjunction with the person ordering the test and the examiner.
It is very difficult for anyone to fool an experienced, highly trained examiner. Those who purport to have cheated the lie detector have often taken tests with examiners who fall short of the exacting standards of the American Polygraph Association.
We have no idea whether Arron Banks will pass the lie detector test or not. But we do believe it would be an excellent idea for Messrs Campbell and Collins to accept his invitation.