Nigel Farage receives Coutts apology over 'deeply inappropriate' comments - but account WON'T be reinstated

Nigel Farage (left) and Dame Alison Rose (right)

Nigel Farage (left) and Dame Alison Rose (right)

GB News/PA
Jack Walters

By Jack Walters

Published: 20/07/2023

- 17:23

Updated: 21/07/2023

- 11:39

The ex-Brexit Party leader announced his personal and business accounts were suspended by private bank Coutts earlier this month

Nigel Farage has received an apology from NatWest chief Dame Alison Rose for comments made about the ex-UKIP leader after its subsidiary Coutts suspended his personal and business accounts.

However, NatWest's chief executive ruled out reinstating Farage's accounts with the private bank.

Dame Alison said: "I am writing to apologise for the deeply inappropriate comments about yourself made in the now published papers prepared for the Wealth Committee.

"I would like to make it clear that they do not reflect the view of the bank."

Coutts bank in London

Coutts bank in London


She added: "I believe very strongly that freedom of expression and access to banking are fundamental to our society and it is absolutely not our policy to exit a customer on the basis of legally held political and personal views.

"To this end, I would like to personally reiterate our offer to you of alternative banking arrangements at NatWest."

A full review is also being launched into Coutts' processes for how these decisions are made and communications.

Dame Alison revealed the review will "ensure we provide better, clearer and more consistent experience[s] for customers in the future."

Farage released a 40-page dossier on Wednesday detailing Coutts' decision to axe his accounts.

Nigel FarageNigel FaragePA

It revealed his accounts were shut because Farage's views did not "align with its purpose and values".

The dossier stated that "while it is accepted that no criminal convictions have resulted, commentary and behaviours that do not align to the bank's purpose and values have been demonstrated".

The GB News presenter was also labelled as racist and a xenophobe.

Coutts even cited Farage's support of former US President Donald Trump and tennis champion Novak Djokovic as reasons behind the cancellation.

Brexit, which Farage campaigned for over three decades to achieve, was mentioned on 86 occasions in the report.

Dame Alison's letter to Nigel Farage in full

Dame Alison's letter to Nigel Farage in full

GB News

Dame Alison's apology came just minutes after the Treasury announces new plans to impose stricter rules on banks over closing customers' accounts under changes designed to protect freedom of expression.

City Minister Andrew Griffith confirmed the changes will increase the notice period given to customers to 90 days and will force banks to spell out clearly why they are terminating an account.

Farage complained about the decision to close his accounts earlier this month and released a 40-page dossier suggesting Coutts shut down his accounts because his views "do not align with our values".

Coutts, which is part of NatWest Group's wealth management division, yesterday hit back at the ex-Brexit Party leader by saying it does not close customer bank accounts "solely on the basis of legally held political and personal views".

However, the 331-year-old institution faced criticism for its handling of Farage's accounts after briefing the BBC and The Financial Times the decision was made as the former UKIP MEP fell below Coutts' strict financial threshold.

Nigel Farage speaks to the media as he leaves the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium

Nigel Farage speaks to the media as he leaves the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium


Coutts was even accused of hypocrisy after adding: "We cannot comment on the detail given our customer confidentiality obligations".

Farage also received an apology earlier this morning from ex-BBC journalist Jon Sopel.

Sopel, who previously claimed Farage "must feel like a bit of a Charlie", said: "Always believed when I get things wrong, I own up to it.

"I got it wrong. Sorry. That will teach me to trust reporting of my old employer.

"If your political views were even part of the reason why account was suspended from Coutts that is totally reprehensible."

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