Police investigation into Tory election expenses – details

This is how Channel 4 News, which investigated the alleged election fraud, reported the news that police forces are investigating.

Seven police forces have launched investigations into Conservative MPs for possible election fraud, acting on evidence revealed by Channel 4 News.

The probes are understood to be looking at election expenses of ten sitting MPs, so far.

The investigations centre on whether costs to transport and accommodate bus-loads of Tory activists to marginal seats should have been declared by candidates.

It follows a four month investigation by Channel 4 News into campaign spending by the Conservative Party in last year’s General Election and three key by-elections.

One force, Greater Manchester Police, confirmed it had already been granted an extensions by the courts to extend the one-year time limit for prosecutions under election law.

A further three forces said they would be doing the same in coming weeks.

Last night legal experts said it is the first time in British history that extensions had been sought to time limits for prosecutions under election law, and showed the scale of the operation.

One of Britain’s leading election lawyers Gavin Millar QC, of Matrix Chambers said: “We haven’t seen a case like this before – where a group of police forces have used this power.

“I don’t know of a case where it’s been used even in a single case.

“But the idea of a group of police forces coming together to coordinate an investigation – and each one getting the extension of time to look into the election in their area is unheard of.

“And it means that they are taking seriously as police service the issues that were raised by the original Channel 4 News report, and the issues that people like me have been worried about for a long time about malpractice in marginal seats involving the major political parties in terms of how they spend and what they’re prepared to admit having spent.”

The forces that have confirmed they are investigating are Devon and Cornwall, Cheshire, West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester Police, Gloucestershire, Northamptonshire, and Staffordshire.

The MPs we understand are being looked at are Amanda Milling, for Cannock Chase; Michael Ellis for Northampton North; Stuart Andrew for Pudsey, Horsforth & Aireborough; David Nuttall for Bury North; North Cornwall for Scott Mann; George Eustace for Cambourne and Redruth; Kevin Foster for Torbay; Oliver Colville for Plymouth Sutton and Devenport; and Graham Evans for Weaver Vale.

Gloucestershire Police has not said whether their investigation is looking at Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk or Stroud MP Neil Carmichael.

So far, the Channel 4 News investigation has found almost £200,000 of seemingly undeclared election expenses in 33 constituency elections carried out in 2014 and 2015.

Source: Tory election expenses: police announce investigation – Channel 4 News

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14 thoughts on “Police investigation into Tory election expenses – details

  1. NMac

    Re-the Gloucestershire Enquiry, I would hope it is investigating both Chalk and Carmichael.

  2. Joan Edington

    Much as it goes against my moral instincts to support any Tory, I can’t help but feel sorry for these MPs. They are the ones that charges are being brought against but those really responsible are Tory Head Office. I’m sure they suggested and sent the bus-loads rather than the local MPs askeing for them. The charges should be taken right to the top, not restricted to the local scapegoats.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I agree. This is very frustrating – deliberate ignorance of the facts.

  3. Rik

    The worm has definitely turned, let’s see how they worm their way out of this one..
    Maybe 2016 will be a year to remember..
    Thank You Mike
    I wish the police the best of luck

  4. Neilth

    Andrew RT Davies Tory party paid for a wrap around on the local free rag which was published on the Thursday 3weeks before the election. I’m betting this was paid for before the world now for expenses and therefore such an expensive form of advertising wouldn’t be covered. The wrap around looked exactly like the parent paper with articles claiming a massive lead for Ross England and other lies.
    Be interesting to see whether it’s declared in the election expenses.

  5. yarmouthboy

    Wow! Are the Police finally getting the message that this GOVt is “dodgy” and needs to be investigated properly. Perhaps after Hillsborough things are going to be done differently.

  6. Dez

    If the police actually do carry out their job, and are not just playing to the public, this will bring much credibility and integrity to the police forces much damaged by the recent negative damning of their past life happenings. It will also disolve the mistrust by the population that the police are just an extension of the Tory party. Interesting the recent election of the local Police Commissioner just how much the Cons threw at their candidate, press, tv, door to door drops of full colour pro leaflets,and much email bombardment. Had not got anything from the other candidates maybe just the one radio interview of all the candidates…. nothing like the Cons expensive PR stuff.

    1. Dez

      And of course the mandatory statement “Lessons will be learnt”! ie how not to get caught next time

Comments are closed.