Arron Banks quits commitee to go for lunch

Arron Banks and his aide Andy Wigmore

The duo will now appear before the Commons Culture and Media Committee on Tuesday to face questions about alleged Russian involvement in the European Union referendum campaign.

Wigmore told the committee he first met with the Russians in his role as a diplomat for the South American country of Belize. He added: "I have no business in Russian Federation, I have done no business deals in Russian Federation".

Asked if he believed there was any attempt by Russian Federation to influence the outcome of the 2016 vote, Mr Banks said it was "possible" but he believed it was confined to a few hackers and computer bots at a "low level".

On Sunday, it emerged that Banks had two more meetings with Yakovenko than he had previously admitted in the book he penned on the referendum battle, 'The Bad Boys of Brexit.' The final meeting with the Russian ambassador was in November 2016, three days after Banks, Leave.EU's Communications Director Andy Wigmore, and ex-UKIP leader Nigel Farage met Trump in NY after he had been elected president.

"I met with him, I'm a businessman, why shouldn't I?"

"He said he only met the Russian ambassador on one occasion; we now know it was more than that".

Mr Banks confirmed he had also talks about a business venture involving Russian gold mines
PAMr Banks confirmed he had also talks about a business venture involving Russian gold mines

The committee is quizzing Banks about his possible ties to Russian Federation, after the Sunday Times said his ties to the country went further and deeper than he had previously disclosed. "What were you hoping to get out of it?"

When Mr Collins again pressed for five more minutes, Mr Banks responded sternly: "No, no, no - the word is "no". "What's wrong with that?"

Wigmore told the MPs he had obtained the number after he supplied one for 10 Downing St to a receptionist for Trump.

Britain has said it has seen no evidence of Russian interference in the vote, but as part of a broader inquiry into "fake news", lawmakers on the media committee are investigating whether the country tried to influence public opinion before the referendum.

Earlier, it emerged that Banks had lodged an appeal against the Electoral Commission over its decision to levy a £70,000 fine against Leave.EU for breaching its spending limits. According to Wigmore, she has said: "This young girl said, 'You're British, do you have the telephone number for No 10 Downing Street?" Collins told the committee that as a result it would not be possible for the committee to explore related areas. Wigmore said that "in the light of hospitality from Putin's No 1 man in London, you might recuse yourself".

"All I can say is I got invited to the football, I didn't meet the owner, I wasn't offered Stalin's vodka, I'm not as good at pushing their buttons as you are". The MP said: "Chelsea won 2-1, that was the extent of the entertainment".

Dost to leave Sporting CP on a free
Sporting Lisbon have confirmed that six of their players are set to leave the club for nothing after terminating their contracts . Arsenal have been handed a boost in their pursuit of Sporting CP star Gelson Martins , according to reports .

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