Ryanair’s ‘Brexit special’ ad campaign offering remain voters a special price to fly home to vote has been reported to the police by the Vote Leave campaign for breaching bribery laws, it claims.
The ad says overseas voters can ‘Fly Home to Vote Remain’ from €19.99 one way on the 22 June and the 23 June, day of the referendum.
Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O’Leary has openly defended the European Union in recent weeks, with the company donating money to the Remain campaign. O’Leary appeared in London on Monday alongside Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to promote the case for staying in the EU.
O’Leary described the complaint from Vote Leave as “desperate” and asserted the Fly Home to Vote Remain seat sale “fully complies with Ryanair’s policy of lowering the cost of air travel to/from the UK”.
"Vote Leave must be getting really desperate if they are now objecting to low fare air travel for British citizens” O’Leary added.
Vote Leave campaign director Dominic Cummings said the offer was “corrupt” and claimed it broke referendum rules and section 1 of the Bribery Act 2010.
Cummings told Met police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe: “By its discount on flights on the day before, and the day of the referendum, Ryanair is paying the expense, in part, of provision to voters in order to influence them to vote in the referendum.
“This appears to be corrupt, since the company is offering discounts on the commercial rate to customers with the sole aim of ensuring that they vote and vote to remain in the European Union.”
Cummings said the law should not allow the “democratic process to be gravely undermined by the wealth, power and influence of multinational companies which have a direct financial interest in preserving the corrupt regulatory system of the EU”.
Scotland Yard confirmed it had received the complaint and said it would consider its contents and respond in due course, the Guardian reported.