Election expenses: Prosecutors investigate Tory spending claims

  • Election expenses: Prosecutors investigate Tory spending claims

Election expenses: Prosecutors investigate Tory spending claims

The police probe into Conservative election expenses has deepened with the interviewing of a second Conservative MP.

Controversy over Conservative election returns erupted past year after claims that busloads of activists were ferried to marginal seats and put up in hotels at the national party's expense, without the costs being listed as "local expenses".

The CPS said it has received 11 files, one from each of Avon and Somerset, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon and Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Greater Manchester, Lincolnshire, Metropolitan, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and West Yorkshire police.

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.

Election results could even be overturned if prosecutions follow.

Police have told Will Quince they will take no further action after the MP was interviewed under caution in January.

The Conservative Party appears to have understated its campaign spending in the key battleground seat of South Thanet where they successfully fought off the challenge of former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, the Electoral Commission has found. 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.

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

Craig Mackinlay, the Conservative MP for South Thanet, has also been interviewed under police caution although Kent olice has not yet decided whether to refer his case to prosecutors for consideration.

The Conservatives deny that Mr Timothy worked directly on the Thanet South campaign.

On the political advisers, the commission said they had played "key roles" in determining Mr Mackinlay's campaign messages and in drafting campaign material "promoting Mr Mackinlay's electoral success".

In a leaked email to Conservative Party chairman Sir Patrick McLoughlin, Lincoln MP Karl McCartney complained they felt "completely cast adrift" and "left to fend for themselves". "In fact there were some issues that the party itself raised with the Electoral Commission through their investigations", May said. In a statement, Mr McCartney said he had made clear his "forthright views" privately to a number of senior party figures on behalf of backbenchers.

The office of Mackinlay, who was questioned on Saturday, said it would not be commenting.