Great Britain

Leave.EU has domain name temporarily suspended

Leave.EU has been forced to “Internexit” after the group’s EU domain name was temporarily suspended. It comes after the Irish businessman in whose name the pro-Brexit campaign group’s domain name is registered denied having any involvement with the organisation.

Now visitors to the site are greeted with an error message, and the EU’s online registry marks the domain as under a server hold, meaning it is “temporarily inactive and under investigation”.

Following Brexit, UK organisations are no longer able to use the .EU top-level domain, a change which – ironically – affected the pro-Brexit group, the most prominent owner of an EU domain name in Britain.

Irish businessman Sean Power, who is based in Waterford, is still registered as the legal owner of the domain name. However, he has long insisted he has no knowledge of Leave.EU, and had never heard of the organisation before the Guardian contacted him on 7 January. “My lawyers are looking into this on my behalf presently and will be in touch as deemed necessary in due course,” he said last week.

Last week, Neale Richmond, a member of the Irish parliament, wrote to ComReg, the country’s communications regulator, calling for an investigation into how Leave.EU was able to secure the domain name. “It is utterly ridiculous to think that Leave.EU could brass-plate an address in Waterford to maintain their domain name,” Richmond said on Friday. “They wanted to leave the EU, they have, that means they leave their domain too.

“Many other questions in relation to data storage, fundraising, finances, donations and political activities would need to be answered if Leave.EU were genuinely relocating to Waterford.

“Leave.EU are quite simply not welcome in Ireland, their questionable activities over the past number of years have brought a new level of toxic politics in the UK and beyond.

“I welcome the suspension of this domain; I sincerely hope this is the end of this odious website and the related traffic driven to this odious brand. Good riddance.”

But Andy Wigmore, the communications director for the campaign group, told the Guardian: “We’ll be back up soon – our lawyers will be taking action against those (and they know who they are) who have broken those delicious EU laws they love so much.”

Calling Richmond a “third-rate EU fanatic,” Wigmore added: “if he wants to make those cowardly defamatory allegations outside of parliamentary privilege let’s see how massive Billy big balls Neale is then.

“And any more nonsense from Brussels lovers like him and we may decide to put the full weight of Leave.EU behind the IREXIT campaign.”

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