A ridiculous mess: Dyfed Powys Police and the Electoral Commission are now investigating each other, not my Tory MP’s expenses

Chris Davies, Tory MP for Brecon and Radnorshire: If he committed electoral expenses fraud, in three more days he'll have got away with it, thanks to confusion between the Electoral Commission and Dyfed Powys Police.

Chris Davies, Tory MP for Brecon and Radnorshire: If he did commit electoral expenses fraud, in three more days he’ll have got away with it, thanks to confusion between the Electoral Commission and Dyfed Powys Police.

Quick recap: This Writer contacted Dyfed Powys Police, on advice from the Electoral Commission, to request an investigation into possible electoral expenses fraud by Brecon and Radnorshire’s new Conservative MP Chris Davies.

He had not declared a four-page wraparound advert in the local Brecon and Radnor Express newspaper as a local expense. The advert would have cost £14,000 – more than his entire permitted spending during the regulated period known as the Short Campaign.

Nor had he declared any amount relating to the visit of David Cameron and his battle bus to Builth Wells and Newbridge-on-Wye on April 17, 2015. The presence of Mr Cameron, campaigning in the constituency (and probably mentioning Mr Davies by name, as he is on record doing for other candidates in other constituencies) would certainly have had a beneficial effect on Mr Davies and in these circumstances the Electoral Commission advises that the cost should be split between national expenditure and the local candidate.

Last Thursday (May 26), an officer named Paul Callard responded to my complaint, saying he had discussed the matter with the Electoral Commission and found there was no case to answer. This seemed odd to me. I could not understand why the Electoral Commission would pass me on to the police and then tell the police there was no substance to what I was saying.

So I contacted the Electoral Commission and asked for confirmation that Mr Callard had spoken to a representative, and for details of the conversation.

Today I received an email from a representative of Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llewelyn. He wrote:

“Your concerns that there may have been impropriety in electoral campaign spending are certainly valid. Having looked into this matter further however, I have found out that the Police are not the appropriate authority to deal with any potential breaches of the rules for political spending. The Electoral Commission regulate this area and have enforcement powers to investigate any alleged breaches and impose sanctions.”

Confused? I was. He continued:

“I appreciate recent media reports stating that police forces in England and Wales are investigating electoral expenses may have given the wrong impression, causing confusion over where the remit lies. The forces investigating these claims are doing so after being called in by the Electoral Commission. The reason for the Commission doing this was due to its concerns, it would not be able to obtain all the information it needed before the deadline for taking action passed. In order for Dyfed Powys Police to have had a role in these investigations, a request would have had to come from the Electoral Commission.

“It does cause me concern that someone in the Electoral Commission has informed you this is a matter for Dyfed Powys Police. If you can provide me with the details of who you spoke to or corresponded with I would greatly appreciate it as I feel that it may be useful for me to discuss this matter further with that individual.”

I was happy to do so.

Can you guess what this means?

It means I am now in the farcical situation of having the Electoral Commission investigating the police, and the police investigating the Electoral Commission.

Nothing is happening about Chris Davies and time is ticking away.

What a ridiculous mess.

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13 thoughts on “A ridiculous mess: Dyfed Powys Police and the Electoral Commission are now investigating each other, not my Tory MP’s expenses

  1. shawn

    Has not the Police Commissioner, Paul Callard taken any not of the fact that other police forces have asked for an extension, and by implication believe they have the power and a duty enforce the law in this area?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The Commissioner is Dafydd Llewelyn. Mr Callard is the officer who was assigned to the case and decided that there was no criminal offence.
      What he has noticed or not is anybody’s guess!

    1. John

      It IS a very good way. Delay tactics that mean the MP will now probably not be investigated.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        If that happens, there will be a complaint to the relevant overseers of both the Electoral Commission and Dyfed Powys Police, along with a lot of publicity to show that the only reason there hasn’t been an investigation into this MP is incompetence or corruption by the investigating authorities. This tends to indicate guilt so he should not be treated as an MP by any of his constituents.
        But only if that happens.

  2. maxencala

    Is there a possibility that the Tory owned and run Brecon & Radnor Express might have ‘given’ the four page wraparound advert gratis, as a gesture of support?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I don’t think so.
      The commenter who provided the £14,000 figure did so after contacting the B&R to find out how much the advert had cost.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I’ve edited it out because it’s exactly the same as one that has already been published on this site.
      Clearly it was a standard form letter created in response to the large number of people getting in touch after reading about the situation on This Blog.
      I’d like to thank you very much for supporting my call for an investigation. Hopefully we’ll see something worthwhile very soon.

  3. mohandeer

    Does anyone really believe that the police commission and Electoral Commission could be this inept or incompetent?
    This is both Commissions dragging their feet or walking the investigation slomo towards the deadline so that they don’t upset the apple cart. In other words, it’s not a farce but more a collusion and general cover up by tacit agreement.
    Feel free to give them the benefit of the doubt, I’ve learned that such generosity usually earns you a kick in the teeth.

  4. shawn

    mohandeer, ‘ . . . . usually earns you a kick in the teethe’. Yep. Dealing with the Conservatives (or for that matter U.S. Republicans or the ‘right-wing’ in general) reminds me of the so called ‘Melian dialogue, from Greek classical history. You’ve either got the power to assert your will over them or they will assert their will over you. It’s a sad way to run a life or the world, but it fits in with their world view.

Comments are closed.