THE EU referendum was “stolen by lawbreakers,” an SNP MP has claimed after campaigners won a High Court challenge against the Electoral Commission over spending by Vote Leave.

The Good Law Project[GLP] brought a judicial review against the elections watchdog, arguing it had failed in its duty to regulate the referendum process ahead of the historic vote in June 2016.

In a ruling today, Mr Justice Leggatt said the Commission had "misinterpreted" the definition of referendum expenses in relation to the Vote Leave campaign.

He said Vote Leave paid £620,000 to Canadian online advertising firm AggregateIQ[AIQ] at the request of another Leave campaigner, Darren Grimes, in the days before the referendum.

This put Vote Leave over its £7 million election spending limit by almost £500,000.

GLP launched the case in October after the Commission concluded there were "no reasonable grounds to suspect" any incorrect reporting of campaign spending or donations by Vote Leave.

However, the watchdog later opened an investigation into the spending of Vote Leave and Mr Grimes and concluded in July that both had incorrectly reported their spending.

Vote Leave was fined £61,000 and Mr Grimes £20,000 fine by the Commission, which referred the matter to the Metropolitan Police.

Deirdre Brock, the SNP MP for Edinburgh North and Leith, who raised the issue of AIQ’s activities during Prime Minister’s Questions this week, said GLP had achieved a “stunning victory,” which was also a searing indictment of the Commission’s failure to act on information received.

“We know that AIQ and Cambridge Analytica were involved in some very questionable behaviour during the EU referendum and now we know that the Leave campaign broke the law in two different ways. The referendum was stolen from the people by law-breakers using shadowy firms and the UK Government needs to tell us how it intends to put that right.”

Ms Brock also repeated her call for Theresa May to come clean about the purpose of a visit to No 10 by AIQ senior representatives given the visit was “not recorded in the usual way”.

The Nationalist backbencher added: “Theresa May can start with acknowledging that the referendum result was not safe and that it was stolen by law-breaking. Then she should seek an extension of the Article 50 negotiations to give time for proper consideration of the options.

"There is already considerable pressure building for a vote on the final Brexit deal but we now know that the initial vote was fundamentally flawed and won only because Leave campaigners broke the law.”