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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Tory MPs may face electoral fraud prosecutions before election day

Well that deteriorated quickly. One minute we are quietly getting on with the local elections and the next we are facing a General Election a few weeks later. Parliament will vote tomorrow and it looks like the required majority will be there. However, there is still unfinished business that could derail some of the Prime Minister's plans.

As the Independent reports, Conservative MPs accused of breaking election spending rules at the last election face the possibility of being prosecuted by the Crown while they are in the middle of fighting their re-election campaigns.

The paper says 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:

'The CPS is currently reviewing the evidence and considering whether to charge the MPs with breaking the election spending limits, which are put in place to prevent those with wealthy backers from gaining an unfair advantage during general elections.

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.

Channel 4 News reported on Tuesday evening that the CPS is considering prosecution against over 30 individuals with regards to 2015 election expenses.

As a result, a decision has to be made by the CPS by late May or early June, meaning that any charges will land during at least the long election campaign period, and possibly even the short campaign.

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

This could get messy.

Update: The CPS announced on 10 May that no Conservatives will face charges for breaches of expenses rules over the 2015 general election "battle bus". The BBC report that the Crown Prosecution Service has examined files from 14 police forces and while there was evidence of inaccurate spending returns it did not "meet the test" for further action. It is still investigating the Conservative campaign in South Thanet.
I am of the opinion This is one reason she has called the election. It would be not only politically damaging but indicate they are corrupt in the media. Prosecution or not the election will take the media away from this topic. However it could still be used in areas where it could have sway with us.
Linton Crosby must be kept an eye on to see what he is getting up to and must be (politically)eliminated.
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