Here’s how the Tories are trying to mislead us about their election spending choices

Last Updated: May 14, 2016By


Look at this:

160514 Cameron Torbay letter

The Conservative Party wants you to believe that the money spent sending this letter to voters in Torbay should be recorded under national spending, rather than constituency spending, as it does not name the candidate.

This is a false claim.

Electoral Commission rules are very clear. National party campaign spending “is authorised by a party to promote the party and its policies generally. For example, national newspaper adverts for the party, or leaflets explaining party policy.”

So local newspaper adverts don’t come under national spending, and neither do letters sent out to electors in a constituency, naming that constituency.

There is no conceivable reason why the Conservative Party’s leaders would not know this.

Nor does that organisation have any power to dictate how its election campaign materials are defined.

Adrian Sanders was right to raise this issue. It means many more Tory MPs could now come under investigation.

Police have been asked to investigate claims letters sent in David Cameron’s name led to a breach of election law.

The former Liberal Democrat MP Adrian Sanders has demanded police take action.

He said the general election mailshots last year meant the Conservatives had broken local spending limits.

A Conservative Party spokesman said they did not fall under constituency spending restrictions because they did not name the party’s local candidate.

The letters repeatedly referred to Torbay, telling voters how important it was for them to back the Tories in that constituency.

One concluded: “The only way you can stop Ed Miliband and the SNP taking us back to square one is to vote Conservative here in Torbay.”

Source: Police asked to investigate Conservative election letters – BBC News


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  1. mohandeer May 14, 2016 at 12:17 pm - Reply

    “The Law is the Law” does not seem to apply to the Conservative Party and you can be sure they will find ways and means to circumvent it with the police and judiciary, albeit playing a minor role, aiding and abetting this miscarriage of justice.

  2. Florence May 14, 2016 at 12:48 pm - Reply

    As a retired IT person, I can see a clue in he peronalisation of letters, in the example above it can be seen that it addresses “Susan”, means unless such letters were sent out to the entire Electoral roll the data was processed, (also incurring a cost, so that should be traceable) which puts it under the local candidate spending. Any selection of the recipients by address render it part of the local campaign. Just because it was purportedly from “calll me Dave” doesn’t make it National.

    Worryingly, this govt has shown scant regard for the law, and when found guilty of their illegal activities, such as the Workfare trial, they have changed the law – also very disturbingly back dated it too. They are now threatening the parents in the school holidays fiasco with “tighter legislation”, so I expect them to try and legislate their definition of expenses, probably with back-dating too. This should be the tipping point to anyone who cares about democracy.

  3. Christopher Campbell. May 14, 2016 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    I believe the Tories knew what they were about, but thought the stakes high enough to risk it. If any MP convicted they will appeal & appeal again until 2020. If any party official is convicted the same may apply or perhaps they will be expected to pay the price.

  4. Brian May 14, 2016 at 9:23 pm - Reply

    Breaking these limits and the subsequent claims are outright fraud. More worryingly are superstitions they have and may again adjust legislation to pervert justice. Matters like this are extremely serious. It brings the law of the land into disrepute. Changing law to suit their own political agenda undermines the very fabric of democracy. It’s an affront to all the freedoms we hold dear. This is the beginning of dictatorship. The house of lords should call a motion of no confidence.

  5. NMac May 15, 2016 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    Personally, I believe that this was a deliberate criminal conspiracy which goes right up to the heart of 10 Downing Street itself. It would be naïve to think that Cameron did not know what was going on. It should be fully investigated by the Serious Fraud Office.

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