Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay allegedly questioned about expenses

17 March, 2017, 00:55 | Author: Ora Austin
  • Mr Mackinlay beat Nigel Farage in the General Election contest to be MP for Thanet South

An Essex police spokeswoman said: "Essex Police investigated one allegation of electoral fraud in relation to the 2015 General Election and obtained a one year extension to the time limit for prosecution, as set out in the Representation of the People Act 1983".

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has received a dozen evidence files and will take decisions on charges within weeks, it emerged, as two more of Theresa May's most senior aides were dragged into the controversy.

The allegations centre on the party's battle bus campaign and whether hotel bills declared nationally should have been included on candidates' local spending returns.

The CPS said it has received 11 files, one from each of Avon and Somerset, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon and Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Greater Manchester, Lincolnshire, Metropolitan, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and West Yorkshire police.

It is understood Staffordshire Police has also sent a file, but this could not be confirmed by the CPS.

The criminal offence carries a maximum penalty of a year's imprisonment and election watchdogs could overturn the result.

Mr Morris told BBC's Newsnight: "We were all given an email, every one of us had the same email from Mark Clarke at the time who was running the battle bus project, saying it was a national spend".

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A Tory party spokesman said last night: 'We are cooperating with the ongoing investigations'. Mr Quince claims the accusation was "vexatious and politically motivated".

It is understood the Tory was interviewed under caution for six hours following allegations of overspending in the 2015 election campaign which saw him come out on top after a bitter fight with Ukip leader Nigel Farage. The Labour Party and Liberal Democrats both failed to declare sums of money which constituted a larger proportion of their national expenditure in the 2015 general election.

Even the former Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps appeared to acknowledge the matter, stating this weekend: "I remember discovering partway through the campaign, I think, that Timothy was actually down full-time in Thanet".

The Tories have responded to the fines by suggesting there needs to be a review of how the Electoral Commission's processes and requirements could be clarified or improved.

In November 2016 Mr Morris called for an overhaul of the MPs' expenses system after allegations by a national newspaper that he had claimed driving expenses in the United Kingdom while he was on official foreign trips.

The office of the MP, who was questioned on Saturday, said it would not be commenting.

"This matter is now subject to assessment by officers from the Special Enquiry Team".

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