Nigel Farage has accepted the BBC’s apology for incorrectly reporting that his Coutts bank account was closed due to falling below his “wealth limit”.
Farage, 59, said he was “delighted” to receive the “rare” apology, but the “finger” now pointed to Coutts and the NatWest banking group as to who gave the information to the BBC.
It comes after the former UKIP leader submitted a data access request to the bank which revealed a 36-page document suggesting his accounts were closed because his views were at odds with “inclusivity”.
After receiving an apology from BBC business editor Simon Jack and BBC News chief executive Deborah Turness, he told his GB News programme: ‘Well, apologies from the BBC are very, very rare. They only happen once every few years.
‘But today I received that apology. He made it very, very clear that the information turned out to be inaccurate.
‘Thank you. Thank you. Thank you Simon Jack, thank you Deborah Turness. I know some will say it took too long, but thank you.
‘A full apology from the BBC is not something that happens very often. I’m delighted to get it.
However, Farage vowed to “uncover the absolute truth” and questioned who in Coutts or Natwest told the BBC that their bank accounts were closed for business reasons.
He said: ‘How can it be right? And it doesn’t matter if it’s me or anyone else, how can it be correct that my bank statement and the amount of money I may or may not have in my personal and business accounts is discussed with the BBC business editor and then broadcast to the world?
‘How can that be correct? How can that be ethical? How can that be legal? How can that be moral? I want to find out the truth and I am very happy to find out the truth.
He added that he had sent another data access request to NatWest to see what they ‘had’ on him.
Nigel Farage (pictured) had demanded a swift apology from BBC Director General Tim Davie.
The BBC apologized to Nigel Farage today for relying on a report that his finances were the reason for his ‘unbanking’ by Coutts.
The corporation’s business editor, Simon Jack, admitted that although the source for the story was ‘senior’, the information ‘turned out to be incomplete and inaccurate’.
The acknowledgment came after the former Ukip leader demanded a response from the BBC on the bitter dispute.
He said tonight that he also received a letter from the station’s chief news executive.
‘My thanks to @BBCSimonJack for his apology. I also received a letter of apology from BBC News CEO Deborah Turness. I am very grateful to both of them,” Farage wrote on Twitter.
In a video posted to social media, Farage also noted that “it’s not often that the BBC apologizes” and said he would reflect before giving a fuller picture of what had happened.
“I’m very, very happy,” he added.
BBC business editor Simon Jack admitted that although the source for the story was ‘senior’, the information ‘turned out to be incomplete and inaccurate’.
Farage said tonight that he also received a letter from the station’s chief news executive.
The BBC also published a statement on its “Corrections and Clarifications” website about its initial coverage of Mr Farage’s “unbanking” dispute with Coutts.
The BBC also today published a statement on its ‘Corrections and Clarifications’ website about its initial coverage of Mr Farage’s ‘unbanking’ dispute with Coutts.
“We have since changed the headline and copy of the original online article about your bank account being closed for falling below the wealth limit to reflect that the claim came from one source and added an update to acknowledge that the story had changed,” it read.
“We acknowledge that the information we reported, that Coutts’ decision on Mr. Farage’s account did not involve considerations of his political views, turned out to be inaccurate and we have apologized to Mr. Farage.”
Mr Jack, who is said to have sat next to the head of NatWest, which owns Coutts, at a charity event before the claims surfaced, tweeted: “The information on which we based our report on Nigel Farage and his bank accounts came from a high-level, reliable source.”
“However, the information turned out to be incomplete and inaccurate. Therefore, I would like to apologize to Mr. Farage.
Mr Farage tonight addressed further responses from NatWest and said: ‘This now goes back to the NatWest banking group.
‘Someone in that group decided it was appropriate, ethical and legal to leak details of my personal financial situation.
“That I think is wrong on every level and that’s where the spotlight should be now, and it will be.”
He has asked the chairman of the banking group, Howard Davies, if he has “launched any internal investigations into the leak of my bank statement and checking account balances.”
Former Tory cabinet minister Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg and a former senior BBC presenter were among those who had called on the BBC to apologize to Mr Farage.
Sir Jacob suggested tonight that Dame Allison Rose, chief executive of NatWest Group, should consider her role after the dispute.
“If you can’t trust your bank to keep your secrets, who can you trust?” he told GB News.
‘Even public figures should be able to trust their doctor and their banker to keep the exchanges they have confidential.
‘If Dame Alison has broken this, she must go and therefore must answer the question: was she the source of the BBC?’
Veteran BBC presenter Nick Owen had urged the corporation to stop being “so slow” and put an end to the incident.
He acknowledged that Mr Jack would have had a ‘very good source’, but said now was the time to ‘put his hands up’ and apologize.
Last week, former BBC correspondent Jon Sopel said the incident “will teach me to trust reports from my former employer”.
Former cabinet minister Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg (left) and former BBC senior presenter Nicholas Owen (right) added their voices to calls for the corporation to issue an apology.
Treasury Secretary Andrew Griffith will write to 19 banks and financial services companies to insist that the scandal surrounding the Coutts de Farage account caused “significant concern” in Parliament.
A Treasury minister is reading the riot law to senior executives over the ‘unbanking’ scandal.
Andrew Griffith is expected to write to 19 banks and financial services firms summoning them for talks and warning that the furore has caused “significant concern in both houses of parliament”.
His intervention, which is understood to take place in the coming days, will require compliance with new reforms regarding transparency regarding the closure of accounts.
The closure of Mr Farage’s account, which an internal Coutts file revealed was due to his political views not aligning with those of the bank, has prompted swift action by ministers, introducing new laws to force banks to explain why they are closing an individual’s account and granting a 90-day period before doing so.
Griffith will tell the banks that he wants a meeting “as soon as possible to hear your views on how you and your companies will ensure that customers can access payment accounts without fear of being unbanked for your legal expression.”
“The Government is unequivocal in that banks and other payment service providers – who occupy a privileged place in society – should not terminate payment account facility contracts for reasons related to the exercise by users of their right to legitimate freedom of expression,” he will write.
Sanctions, including heavy fines and the withdrawal of licences, will be imposed on banks that fail to protect free speech.
And a new account holders charter will force banks to ensure that customers will be able to express their opinions without fear of losing their accounts.
Farage, who has welcomed the government’s response to the scandal, made it clear that he did not ‘blame’ Jack for reporting what he was told, but wanted a ‘proper response’.
“I am now waiting for the BBC to respond,” he said.
‘If I don’t get one quickly from Tim Davie I’ll look into making a formal complaint, and if I still don’t get one I’ll look into Ofcom.
“The BBC has a responsibility to do things right. Clearly, they were tipped off by someone in a position of authority at NatWest, so I don’t blame Simon Jack for that. But I’m trying to get a proper response from them.’
The Mail on Sunday revealed yesterday that Farage’s lawyers have complained to the Information Commissioner’s Office, which can fine banks up to £17m, for the leak of his private information.
In a matter access request to NatWest on Friday, its legal team demanded the publication of all correspondence between the banking group and the BBC.
In another troubling case, Reform UK leader Richard Tice has accused Metro Bank of closing his account due to his vocal support and campaigning for Brexit.
He told the Sun on Sunday: ‘I was suspicious at the time, but I didn’t put enough points together. But now it is very clear what has happened.
NatWest Group did not provide comment.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk