Nigel Farage has said he would welcome a public inquiry into the scandal of banks closing people’s accounts because “they don’t like their political views”.
But the former Brexit Party leader told Camilla Tominey on GB News that the inquiry must not be conducted by MPs and “must be quick.”
It came as he revealed that the politician turned GB News award-winning presenter has learnt that around “1,000 accounts a day” are being closed by major banks in the UK over political reasons as well as objecting to businesses dealing in cash.
Mr Farage appeared on Ms Tominey’s Sunday morning show just hours after he launched his new national campaign along with a website to find out the scale of the problem in Britain.
He is urging people who have suffered in the same way as he has with NatWest-owned Coutts Bank to get in touch via the website by logging on to www.accountclosed.org.
Mr Farage has been told by Coutts Bank, which along with the rest of the NatWest group is 39 percent owned by the taxpayer, that it will close his accounts.
Former NatWest chief executive Dame Alison Rose subsequently admitted leaking private confidential information about Mr Farage’s accounts to the BBC claiming he had fallen below Coutts’ wealth threshold but a subject access request revealed that he was “debanked” for political reasons.
Mr Farage said this morning: “I didn’t seek this campaign out it came to me.”
He pointed out that the same scandal has hit Energy Secretary Grant Shapps and his family as well as Brexiteers Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore.
He said: “When I saw the subject access request information about me I thought if you want a fight then you have got one.”
He said people had not come forward before because it would then be harder to get a new account and would hit their credit rating.
But, Mr Farage added: “It isn’t just high profile people with strong opinions.
“I have been inundated with small businesses and folk around the country. People in absolute fear and terror. These are people who have done nothing wrong.”
Along with political views, he said that banks were also punishing people like window cleaners who have cash-based businesses because of anti-money laundering regulations “much of which came from the EU”.
He said: “The legislation in place is like a sledgehammer to miss the nuts. We are not stopping the criminals but we are closing down businesses.”
He said that Government and parliament “need to go through the legislation.”
Asked about a public inquiry, he said: “Not a parliamentry one because that would kick it into the long grass.
“I would be happy to have a Royal Commission into it provided it happened quickly.
“The information we have got out today is that 1,000 bank accounts a day are being closed.”
Later in the show Conservative former Home Secretary Priti Patel said that “we owe Nigel a big thank you for the way he has taken the lid off this whole issue.”
She said that for the last seven years, many small businesses coming to her saying they cannot bank their own cash without having to answer “endless questions over the source of funds”.
She went on: “I think thousands of people will come out and speak about this now.”
Ms Patel said: “I don’t think this can be left to politicians or Parliament anymore.
“There are so many questions here. I don’t think the regulators can be trusted anymore. There are wider inquiries that are needed about the regulatory environment we have.”