Jurors for the trial of South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay and two former aides at Southwark Crown Court are due to be selected and sworn in tomorrow (October 16).
Mr Mackinlay, 52, and former election agent Nathan Gray, of Hawkhurst, and party activist Marion Little, from Hertfordshire, were each charged with offences under the Representation of the People Act 1983 in relation to expense declarations during the General Election.
The accusations relate to the local election spend during the Conservative campaign in 2015 and whether it was wrongly attributed to the national campaign spend. Mr Mackinlay took the seat ahead of then UKIP leader Nigel Farage with a majority of 2,182.
The case opened at Southwark Crown Court today and is expected to last for several weeks. All three deny the charges.
Aftab Jafferjee QC will represent the prosecution and Richard Pratt QC, Northern Circuit, will present the case for the defence.
Mr Mackinlay was faced with anti-Brexit campaigners outside of the court, including Rob Yates from Margate who created the Thanet 48% group to promote the EU Remain case.
Mr Yates has also be threatened with eviction after placing a large Brexit sign in his Arlington House flat window. The Remain campaigner will attend the People’s Vote March in London with a Margate contingent on October 20.
The election expenses trial had initially been due to begin at Southwark Crown Court on May 14 and was scheduled for six weeks.
This was delayed while a pre-trial appeal was heard by Lady Hale (President), Lord Mance, Lord Hughes, Lord Hodge and Lord Lloyd-Jones at the Supreme Court. A judgement on that appeal was issued on July 25.