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Theresa May scheduled the general election to distract from expenses scandal, say MPs

Any charges would have to be made before the date of the general election

The snap general election Theresa May has called for is a distraction from the Tory expenses scandal, several MPs have claimed.

The allegation comes as Channel 4 News reports that the CPS is considering charges against over 30 individuals.

A string of Conservative MPs and officials could face prosecution over allegations of breaching spending limits in the 2015 general election.

MPs have said Ms May's U-turn decision to call for a general election on 8 June may have been influenced by the scandal.

Several Labour MPs said it could be a factor in why Ms May chose to hold an early election, as any charges would have to be made before the date of the general election.

Ukip leader Paul Nuttall suggested Ms May's election announcement may have been motivated in part to avoid "the prospect of a slew of Tory-held by-elections caused by the seeming systematic breach of electoral law at the last election, predominantly in places where Ukip were pressing the Conservatives hard".

However, a Crown Prosecution Service spokesman told the Press Association that the announcement of the snap general election would have no impact on the timing of decisions on whether to press charges.

The precise deadlines for decisions vary from area to area, depending on the date last year on which the local force secured an extension to its investigations into alleged breaches of election finance laws.

Allegations highlighted by Channel 4 News and the Daily Mirror relate to busloads of Conservative activists sent to key seats, whose expenses were reported as part of national campaign spend rather than falling within the lower constituency limits.

It is possible election results in individual seats could be declared invalid if laws are found to have been broken, although this is not an automatic process.

Independent News Service

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