The Crown Prosecution Service has announced that no charges will be brought in connection with files of evidence from 14 police forces in respect of allegations relating to Conservative Party candidates’ expenditure during the 2015 General Election campaign.
A statement issued today (May 10) by Nick Vamos, CPS Head of Special Crime, said: “We have considered files of evidence from 14 police forces in respect of allegations relating to Conservative Party candidates’ expenditure during the 2015 General Election campaign.
“We considered whether candidates and election agents working in constituencies that were visited by the Party’s ‘Battle Bus’ may have committed a criminal offence by not declaring related expenditure on their local returns. Instead, as the Electoral Commission found in its report, these costs were recorded as national expenditure by the Party.
“We reviewed the files in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and have concluded the tests in the Code are not met and no criminal charges have been authorised.”
The file submitted by Kent Police in regards to the South Thanet expenditure during Craig Mackinlay’s campaign is still under review.
Mr Vamos said: “One file, from Kent Police, was only recently received by the CPS, and remains under consideration. No inference as to whether any criminal charge may or may not be authorised in relation to this file should be drawn from this fact and we will announce our decision as soon as possible once we have considered the evidence in this matter.”
The allegations relate to a Channel 4 investigation which questioned the local election spend during the Conservative campaign.
The legal expense limit for South Thanet for that time-frame was £15,016.38. The Conservatives’ local expense declaration was for £14,837.
But a bill of more than £18,000 for stays in two isle hotels and a hostel was not included on local expenses but attributed to national spending. This figure would have taken the party over the legal campaign limit.