The Tories systematically cheat in elections, says their own campaign manager | The Canary

Tarred by association: Did David Cameron authorise the criminal overspending alleged against 24 of his MPs? [Image: Getty.]

Tarred by association: Did David Cameron authorise the criminal overspending alleged against 24 of his MPs? [Image: Getty.]

Yes, the 12-month time limit on prosecuting the by-election offences has expired – but there remain questions about Conservative overspending at last year’s general election as well, with 24 candidates under suspicion.

And of course these matters should raise our suspicions about Tory campaigning tactics now.

In an extraordinary investigation for Channel 4, Michael Crick has uncovered repeated electoral fraud by the Conservative party in the run-up to the 2015 general election. While the rest of the broadcast media largely ignores the story, the party’s own workers are speaking out, calling for an investigation into the Tories’ “systematic” breach of election rules.

It was 2014, the year before the general election. David Cameron was fighting off “the Ukip threat”. He had already pledged to hold an EU referendum to keep eurosceptic voters happy. Then one of his MPs resigned, triggering a by-election in Newark – which Ukip thought it could win. Within months, two more by-elections were triggered when the Conservative MPs for Clacton and Rochester & Strood, Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless, both defected to Ukip.

The Conservatives threw everything they had at fighting the by-elections. David Cameron visited Rochester five times, and MPs and Conservative Headquarters’ staff flooded all three constituencies to do whatever it took to win. Now it seems that included breaking the law.

Channel 4 has uncovered hard evidence that the Conservatives spent more than the legal £100,000 limit in each of the three by-elections. Not just by a few pounds, or by a few thousand pounds, but by well over £90,000 across the three elections.

Then, instead of declaring their overspend, the party submitted misleading expense returns to returning officers – a criminal offence. It kept well over 1,200 nights of local hotel accommodation off the books. Many of those nights were signed for in a personal capacity by Conservative HQ Campaign Specialist Marion Little, who was later awarded an OBE for her by-elections work.

Confronted with this evidence, Conservative members were horrified by their party HQ’s behaviour. Delyth Miles, chair of the Clacton Conservative Party Association, immediately called for an investigation. Katie Woodland, then a paid Conservative party campaign manager for Telford who was asked to help with the Clacton by-election campaign told Channel 4:

“The fact that it happened in three by-elections, one after the other, it’s systematic. And they know the law. They’ve been running elections for years … To do it three in a row, and to do it pretty big in a couple of places, means there was full intention behind it.”

The Conservative party broke the law. It overspent on at least three by-election campaigns and made “a false declaration as to election expenses” – in breach of the Representation of the People Act 1983. The aim of that law is to protect democracy by ensuring a level playing field between political parties. But, thanks to a 12-month time limit on prosecuting the offence, the party will probably get off scot-free.

Source: The Tories systematically cheat in elections, says their own campaign manager | The Canary

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10 thoughts on “The Tories systematically cheat in elections, says their own campaign manager | The Canary

    1. philipburdekin

      It would seem dodgy Dave Teflon and his cheating cronies are above the law, I doubt anything will be done about the hole dodgy goings on.

  1. Gary Aronsson

    Do as I say not as I do has always been the motto of those who rule over us,that is why they make everything they do “Top Secret” because if people understood what was actually going on they would see that the only real difference between “Government” and “Organised Crime” is that the latter is less well organised than the former!

  2. Michael Broadhurst

    Dodgy Dave and his dodgy party are now been exposed in so many ways.
    if anyone believes them anymore then they must be idiots.

  3. Kath

    I remember watching the elections in 2015 and looking at all the red votes around the UK it totally did not make any sense at all? it was staggering that the Tories had won with only 34% of the electorate something was not right as people immediately thought that the elections were rigged and it seems that we were right

  4. Phil Lee

    There may be a time limit on prosecutions, but don’t candidates in future elections have to met some threshold standard of being reputable?
    In any case, it’s fuel for the future campaigns to kick the cheaters out and NEVER let them set foot in Westminster again – or any town halls either.

  5. C cummins

    There will never be a level playing field while these get out of jail free cards are built into the system (12 month prosecution for one)

Comments are closed.