Tories could face election fraud cases across country

Mar 17, 2017, 00:57
Tories could face election fraud cases across country

Officers are looking into whether strict spending limits in key seats were breached during the Tory "battle bus" campaign.

The CPS yesterday confirmed that it had received files of evidence from Avon & Somerset, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon & Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Greater Manchester, Lincolnshire, the Metropolitan Police, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and West Yorkshire police.

A 12th force - Staffordshire - said it had also passed a file to the CPS.

The latest moves come amid growing anger among Conservative MPs still facing investigation by the police and the Electoral Commission in relation to spending during the 2015 election.

"Lancashire Police interviewed me and they saw fit not to take it any further", he said.

The investigation was launched amid claims he had not declared in his election expenses the cost of party activist train travel to Colchester from London when then prime minister David Cameron visited the town.

The MP, whose case has been referred to prosecutors and is understood to have been interviewed by officers under caution, said: "There is an ongoing police investigation and, as such, I would prefer not to comment directly on that as it has yet to be concluded other than to say I know I have done nothing wrong and I acted honestly and properly throughout my election campaign, as did, very importantly, my election agent". The Labour Party and Liberal Democrats both failed to declare sums of money which constituted a larger proportion of their national expenditure in the 2015 general election.

The Conservative Party has complied fully with the Electoral Commission's investigation since it began more than a year ago and will pay the fines they have imposed.

And there have been reports fellow Tory MP Craig Mackinlay, who defeated Nigel Farage in Thanet South, was questioned for six hours last week by Kent Police.

In a statement posted on his Twitter feed, Mr Quince welcomed the decision by the police but said the complaint against him had been "vexatious and politically motivated".

The senior team were all put up at the Royal Harbour Hotel in Ramsgate, where the Conservative Party racked up a bill of more than £14,000 over the course of the campaign.

The Tories have responded to the fines by suggesting there needs to be a review of how the Electoral Commission's processes and requirements could be clarified or improved.

Karl McCartney, MP for Lincoln and one of those under investigation, wrote a bombshell email to the party chairman Patrick McLoughlin attacking the party's handling of the controversy.

In November 2016 Mr Morris called for an overhaul of the MPs' expenses system after allegations by a national newspaper that he had claimed driving expenses in the United Kingdom while he was on official foreign trips.

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