Conservative chairman Patrick McLaughlin has attacked as “politically motivated” complaints of electoral expenses fraud against Tory politicians, which have been rejected by the Crown Prosecution Service today.
He has been joined in his indignation by Karl McCartney, one of the Tories who was under investigation, who has called for the resignation of Electoral Commission bosses who allowed the investigations to take place.
They are attacking the principle of justice.
In case they haven’t noticed, the Crown Prosecution Service made it very clear that a fraud offence was committed – by somebody at Conservative Central Headquarters: “It is clear agents were told by Conservative Party headquarters that the costs were part of the national campaign.”
We know those costs weren’t part of the national campaign and we know that CCHQ, at least, should have staff who know the law. QED.
Mr McLaughlin is quoted as saying: “After a very thorough investigation, we are pleased that the legal authorities have confirmed what we believed was the case all along: that these Conservative candidates did nothing wrong. These were politically motivated and unfounded complaints that have wasted police time. We are glad that this matter is finally resolved.”
Obviously the complaints were not unfounded. He is either mistaken or lying about that. The police and CPS did find that expenses had been misreported.
As to whether they were politically-motivated – they probably were. But that doesn’t matter, because the complaints were proved correct. The police and CPS did find that expenses had been misreported.
So Mr McLaughlin is wrong in the main points he was making.
I am grateful on a personal level to him for his subsequent remark: “A number of false and malicious claims continue to be spread on the internet. People should be aware that making false claims about a candidate’s personal character and conduct is an electoral offence, as well as being defamatory.”
That is absolutely true and will help me in my bid to launch criminal proceedings against Chris Davies, MP for Brecon and Radnorshire in the 2015-17 Parliament, who made false claims of this kind about me in the run-up to the local elections last week.
Mr McCartney wanted heads to roll at the Electoral Commission. He wrote:
— Harry Cole (@MrHarryCole) May 10, 2017
He is absolutely wrong in his first statement. It is not clear that anybody in the Electoral Commission was politically-motivated. A crime was alleged and the Commission performed its legal duty. And, let us remember: The police and CPS did find that expenses had been misreported.
Mr McCartney calls for the Electoral Commission to be abolished altogether by a future Conservative government, and this can only be seen as an attempt at revenge for that organisation having the temerity to question him and his privileged friends. It has nothing at all to do with justice.
The Electoral Commission was not incompetent.
There is no evidence that its officers were politically-motivated.
Mr McCartney, on the other hand, is.
He is the one who should be consigned to history, “never to play a role in our country’s public life again”.
One last thought:
If the Tories implicated in the election expenses fraud investigation are innocent because they didn’t know they were making inaccurate claims, that means they are incompetent and unfit for public office.
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