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Saturday, August 26, 2017

Police investigate Tory call centre use

The Guardian reports that detectives are carrying out an investigation of “scale and significance” into allegations the Conservative party’s use of a call centre in Wales may have broken the law.

They say that secret footage had suggested the Tories may have breached election law by allegedly using a call centre to directly contact voters in marginal seats. The party has insisted it did nothing wrong and said the call centre was hired to carry out legal market research and direct marketing:

South Wales police wrote to the Labour MP Wayne David this week explaining that members of its economic crime unit with expertise in investigating electoral integrity and complex and serious fraud were looking into the allegations.

The letter, written on behalf of the assistant chief constable, John Drake, and seen by the Guardian, suggested the inquiry into what happened at the call centre, run by Blue Telecoms in Neath, could be protracted.

It said: “The investigation is of sufficient scale and significance that South Wales police are unable to offer any specific timescale of events.

“Rest assured that the officers within this department have the required specialist skills and expertise for this often challenging area of business and will, as with all investigations, act in a diligent and expeditious manner.”

The police confirmed the investigation was being carried out in relation to the Representation of the People Act 1983. A spokeswoman said: “As an investigation is under way, it would be inappropriate to comment any further at this time.”

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) also confirmed it was investigating the call centre.

So that is two successive elections in which complaints have led to an inquiry into Tory campaign methods.
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