Conservative party under investigation over South Thanet campaign

The Conservative party’s Craig Mackinlay, right, reacts after winning the South Thanet seat ahead of Nigel Farage, left [Image: Matt Dunham/AP].

How interesting – after it was reported that the Conservatives had exceeded spending limits in three by-elections, the Electoral Commission has announced it is investigating the party over its spending in the general election as well.

The investigation into Tory spending in South Thanet, which that party secured in last May’s poll, is notable because – as in the three by-elections – the main challenger was a candidate from UKIP. In this particular case, it was UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

It seems there is no point in investigating the three by-elections as the deadline before which any such inquiry should have taken place has passed and the police would be unable to prosecute. How fortunate for the Conservative Party!

A verdict against the Tories in this case will at least lead some to ask why they have been so desperate to keep UKIP out of Parliament.

The Conservatives are under investigation by the electoral watchdog over allegations they falsely reported their campaign spending in South Thanet, where the party stopped Ukip leader Nigel Farage winning a parliamentary seat in May.

The Electoral Commission announced it was opening an investigation into the party’s whole spending return at the 2015 general election after a report on Channel 4 News alleged they exceeded local spending limits.

Kent police have declined to investigate the allegations but the Electoral Commission’s decision to investigate may prompt law enforcement authorities to take it more seriously.

In a significant move, the Electoral Commission took the opportunity to remind Kent police that there is a year’s time limit on their ability to investigate relevant criminal offences under electoral law.

Source: Conservative party under investigation over South Thanet campaign | Politics | The Guardian

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6 thoughts on “Conservative party under investigation over South Thanet campaign

  1. Mr.Angry

    No doubt just like the coroners reports, this will be hushed up, “Democracy” what a an absolute disgrace.

  2. NMac

    Personally, I have little faith in the Electoral Commission’s ability or willingness to pursue this with full vigour. I feel it will be yet another whitewash. I hope I am proved wrong.

  3. Lurkinggherkin

    In which case I must say the Conservative party received poor value for money, in terms of enhanced presence because UKIP were by far the party with the dominant profile. South Thanet turned purple and yellow during the weeks preceding the election and my letterbox filled up with UKIP leaflets. I only received a single newsletter-style leaflet from the Tories. They had some billboards but not as large or numerous as those of UKIP. There was one slightly underhand thing I experienced from the Tories, which is that I was doorstepped by a Tory campaigner on the day of the election itself. I’m not sure if this is legal but it felt rather dishonourable. However no less so than UKIP blatantly lying that they had, with their own investigation, already established the suitability of Riveroak as a CPO partner for the reopening of Manston Airport and that they would commence CPO proceedings immediately if elected.

    Candidates from other parties ran a pretty clean campaign in comparison, I felt. And noticeably lower in budget.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Campaigners are well within their rights to knock on your door on election day. It’s called “getting out the vote”. We know that many people, in our apathetic, sleeping nation, would forget about the democratic right for which their ancestors fought and – in some cases – died, unless somebody knocks on their doors and reminds them about it.
      You say you think the Tories received poor value for money in terms of enhanced presence, but consider this: The Tories won.
      All the UKIP leaflets, posters and billboards did that party no good at all.
      Now, if the Tories won their victory by illegally breaking spending restrictions, then it may be that UKIP might have had a chance in a fair fight. That’s for the Electoral Commission to decide. If the Tories are found to have broken the law, then the election in this constituency should be run again.

  4. Dez

    Kent Police will sit on their hands as long as they can get away with it …. no hopers there. Was the Pub Landlords an arranged diversion tactic or just another looney waster…..was not sucessful with the small number of votes he obtained. Yes the whole thing stinks but hey its the Cons again doing what they do best ignoring silly fairness rules and plebs.

Comments are closed.