Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News UK

Kent Police given more time to investigate Tory electoral fraud claims

Published 01/06/2016

Police are probing alleged fraud concerning campaign expenses
Police are probing alleged fraud concerning campaign expenses

The Conservative Party attempted to stop police from being given more time to investigate electoral fraud allegations.

The party hired "one of the most expensive QCs in the county" to fight the case at Kent Magistrates' Court on Wednesday, Ukip leader Nigel Farage said.

But Kent Police were successfully granted an extra 12 months to investigate the claims, which centre around Tory campaign spending in the constituency of South Thanet during last year's general election.

A one-year time limit to launch potential criminal proceedings relating to the 2015 general election was due to expire on June 12.

Mr Farage, who failed in his bid to take the South Thanet seat, told Channel 4 News: "I'm very surprised the Conservative Party hired one of the most expensive QCs in the county to try and stop the police continuing with their investigation and it all sort of makes me wonder, do they have something to hide?"

The seat was won by Tory and first-time MP Craig Mackinlay.

Kent Police is one of at least 10 forces around the country to have launched an inquiry following claims the Conservatives broke the law on campaign spending

The Electoral Commission is also probing allegations the Tories breached spending rules ahead of their knife-edge poll win last year..

It follows an investigation by Channel 4 News into Conservative Party spending in marginal seats.

A spokeswoman for Kent Police said: "On 1 June, at Folkestone Magistrates' Court, Kent Police's application for an extension to investigate any local offences relating to the general election spending under the Representation of the People Act was successful.

"The extension allows a further 12 months for an investigation."

David Cameron has previously insisted that the party could answer the allegations.

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph