Grant Shapps politically ‘penalised’ as family embroiled in de-banking debacle: ‘It is mad!’

Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero leaves 10 Downing Street

Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero leaves 10 Downing Street

Jack Walters

By Jack Walters

Published: 31/07/2023

- 09:17

The Energy Secretary also lashed out at private bank Coutts over its handling of Nigel Farage’s accounts

Grant Shapps has claimed he and his family were “penalised” by banks because of his role in politics.

The 54-year-old, who entered the House of Commons in 2005, claimed his wife, teenage sons and siblings were all turned down when trying to open accounts.

“My oldest son is 22 and he was outright refused an account by one of the challenger banks,” Shapps told The Sun on Sunday.

“The boss told him that it was because they have been told that they mustn’t allow open bank accounts for politically exposed people. It is mad.”

Cash machines at HSBCCash machines at HSBCPA

The Welwyn Hatfield MP added: “Anyone who decides to devote their life to public service is essentially at risk of being penalised by banks.”

Shapps claimed he was asked for 18-years worth of P60 payslips to make a recent application to open a new account and his 19-year-old son was asked by HSBC to fill out an “enormous list of things”, including the “source of your wealth”.

Banks apply extra due diligence to politically exposed individuals due to money-laundering regulations introduced during the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union.

Ex-Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage called on the Government to diverge from the directive, adding: “Anti-money laundering rules appear to have been wildly over-interpreted by the compliance departments of banks in the UK.”

Nigel FarageNigel FaragePA

Addressing the Coutts debanking scandal impacting Farage, Shapps argued: “They’ve gone too far with this.

“They should get on with the job of being good at banking and not trying to second guess society - there are laws, there are politicians, there are courts.”

However, Shapps and Farage are not the only people who have been impacted in recent years.

More than 1,000 accounts are being closed every working day, a report in The Mail on Sunday has revealed.

Anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller warned “we don’t have a functioning democracy” after the Free and Fair Party’s Monzo account was closed.

Coutts bank in LondonCoutts bank in LondonPA

Reform UK leader Richard Tice is also complaining to his banks after his accounts were shut for what he believes are political reasons.

Farage’s recent crusade against the NatWest Group and its subsidiary Coutts resulted in the resignations of Dame Alison Rose and Peter Flavel.

Dame Alison quit as NatWest’s chief executive after admitting to being the source behind a BBC report which claimed Farage fell below the financial threshold to hold an account.

Coutts boss Flavel resigned shortly after conceding the private bank handling of the ex-UKIP leader’s case showed it had “fallen below the bank’s high standards on personal service”.

NatWest chairman Sir Howard Davies is also facing increasing calls to quit over the group’s handling of the situation.

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