Arron Banks, the co-founder of Leave.EU, spoke at the Oxford Union on Tuesday.
Previously one of the biggest contributors to the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), Banks was influential in the unofficial Leave campaign leading up to the 2016 Brexit Referendum.
Before calling one student a “sanctimonious prick” during the Q&A, Banks spoke about the success of the two-pronged Leave campaign.
Banks maintained that the key to success was in strongly focusing conversation on unregulated im- migration. In this environment, he said, “Brexit was a cultural war as much as it was an economic war.”
Banks protested the controversial stories and the press coverage of the Leave campaign, maintaining his belief in the rise of fake news with regards to Brexit.
He claimed that journalists have become activists, and that the controversy surrounding Russian involvement was fuelled by a few journalists “who have a bee in their bonnet” about the outcome of the Brexit vote.
Among other topics, questions were directed towards Banks’ provocative media presence and con- troversial tweets on Greta Thunberg and anti-Semitism.
When asked about the current swing in the Conservative Party, Banks argued that UKIP and the 2016 vote had helped the Party to return to its roots, having drifted “so far left.”
Three years since the campaign, Banks believes that, although a second referendum is off the table, the upcoming general election is binary over Brexit.
Admitting a degree of naivety over the manner in which the UK would leave the EU, he said that Boris was “left with a hospital pass” on his ascension to PM.
Asked how he would have dealt with Brexit negotiations; Banks criticised the attempt to negotiate Brexit as a two-part deal and for the lack of leverage used against the EU.
To sum up his views on the past three years, Banks said: “We have displayed nothing but jelly.”