A HOME Office minister has said it should be “completely unacceptable” for banks to close the accounts of public figures on “political grounds” after Nigel Farage claimed he was facing discrimination from UK banks.

The GB News presenter and former Ukip leader announced last week that his bank of more than 30 years had closed his account and that other banks he had approached had all rejected his custom.

According to Farage, the bank said it had been a “commercial decision” to close his account.

However, the prominent Brexiteer said he believed that banking laws around Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) were to blame for his situation.

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The Financial Action Task Force, a global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, defines Politically Exposed Persons as individuals who undertake a “prominent public function” and are therefore considered “high-risk” by financial institutions.

In many places, including the EU and the UK, their accounts are subject to additional anti-money laundering measures due to their potential involvement in bribery or corruption.

However, security minister and former Conservative leadership candidate Tom Tugendhat said it was “completely unacceptable” for banks to treat political figures in the manner Farage alleged.

“PEP is there to prevent the corrupt use of banking facilities by politicians in corrupt regimes,” said Tugendhat. “It is not here to silence individuals who may hold views with which we may or may not agree.

“Such a closure on political grounds, if that is indeed what has happened – after all, we have only the allegation of it at this point – should, therefore, be completely unacceptable.”

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The Treasury also confirmed that it was presently reviewing whether banks were blacklisting customers with controversial political views from opening or maintaining accounts.

A Treasury spokesperson said: “It would be a serious concern if financial services were being denied to those exercising the right to lawful free speech.

“We are already looking into this issue and have passed a law that requires the FCA to review how banks treat politically exposed persons – so we can strike the right balance between the customer’s right to free speech and the bank’s right to manage commercial risk.”