Dennis Skinner attacks Theresa May for 'squalid' backing of Tory MPs under criminal investigation for election fraud

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Dennis Skinner attacks Theresa May for 'squalid' backing of Tory MPs under criminal investigation for election fraud

Post by Guest on Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:30 am

Labour MP demands no Conservative who is under investigation be allowed to stand in election

The Prime Minister has backed Conservative MPs who are under criminal investigation for allegedly breaking election expenses rules in 2015 and said they can stand again as Tory candidates in the coming election.

The Crown Prosecution Service last night confirmed it was considering the prosecution of over 30 people for breaking the strict election spending limits, which are put in place to prevent those with wealthy backers from gaining an unfair advantage during general elections.

A total of 14 police forces have sent files to the Crown Prosecution Service relating to the Tory 2015 ‘battle bus’ scheme, which it has been alleged led to Tory candidates breaking strict spending limits on elections.

Labour MP Dennis Skinner asked Ms May at PMQs on Wednesday whether those under criminal investigation would be able to stand again.

“Will the Prime Minister give a guarantee that no Tory MP who is under investigation by the police and the legal authorities over election expenses in the last general election be a candidate in this election?” he asked

“Because if she won’t accept that this is the most squalid election campaign that has happened in my lifetime.”

Ms May replied: “I stand by all the Conservative MPs who are in this House and who will be out there standing again campaigning, campaigning for a Conservative government that will give a brighter and better future for this country.”

A spokesperson for the CPS confirmed to The Independent on Tuesday evening that any charges would have to be made before the date of the general election, which Theresa May wants to hold on 8 June subject to a vote in Parliament tomorrow. This means the CPS's announcement must by law fall while the MPs are campaigning for re-election, before 8 June.

No charges have yet been made against any MP. All 14 police forces who sent files to the CPS last year applied for a 12 month extension to the prosecution deadline, which would have otherwise elapsed last summer.

Police forces who have sent files to the CPS relating to the spending allegations include Avon & Somerset, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon & Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Greater Manchester, Lincolnshire, the Metropolitan, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and West Yorkshire.

The allegations centre on whether spending on hotels for visiting activists and certain campaign material was incorrectly registered as national spending rather than locally – potentially illegitimately taking advantage of a higher spending ceiling.

There have been suggestions that other parties may have failed to register similar spending in their local areas too. In recent weeks some Conservative MPs have hit out at party officials who they say have dodged blame for the fiasco at the expense of MPs’ reputation.

You only ever get the truth from Dennis.

Conservatives, corrupt to the core


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