Thursday, March 16, 2017

Will the UK Conservatives be prosecuted for overspending?

Last year the UK Conservative party admitted that it evaded national spending limits by failing to declare tens of thousands of pounds of spending in key marginal seats. Now, twelve police agencies have forwarded files on the matter for prosecution:

Twelve police forces around the country have sent files to the Crown Prosecution Service relating to general election expenses as an investigation into a Tory ‘battle bus’ scheme enters a new phase.

Officers have been looking into the Conservative Party’s battle bus campaign at the 2015 election to determine whether the party broke spending limits in target seats key to the party winning its narrow parliamentary majority.


A spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service said it had received files from Avon & Somerset, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon & Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Greater Manchester, Lincolnshire, the Metropolitan, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and West Yorkshire police forces.

A spokesperson for Staffordshire Police said they had also provided files to the CPS.

Two dozen Conservatives are understood to be under investigation over claims that they did not include battle bus spending in their local campaign returns. The Electoral Commission is also investigating the allegations in parallel to the police.

This is good if it goes anywhere - election laws need to be enforced, and the evasion of local spending limits is something that should result in prosecution (and, if convicted, ejection from Parliament). OTOH, this is basicly the British establishment being asked to police itself - and we all know how that turns out.