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Tory MP Craig Mackinlay faces jury trial over false election expenses charge

The South Thanet MP denies two counts of knowingly making a false election expenses declaration.

A Conservative MP faces a jury trial on charges over his 2015 general election expenses.

Craig Mackinlay is accused of offences under the Representation of the People Act 1983 alongside campaign director Marion Little, 62, and election agent Nathan Gray, 28.

Mackinlay, who gave his address as Sion Hill, Ramsgate in Kent, arrived at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday morning with his wife Kati.

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The 50-year-old is charged with two counts of knowingly making a false election expenses declaration, while his election agent Gray, of Red Oak, in Hawkhurst, Kent, faces one.

Conservative campaign director Little, of New Road in Ware, Hertfordshire, is accused of three counts related to aiding Mackinlay and Gray in making false declarations.

All three defendants indicated not guilty pleas when the charges were read to them.

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Last month, Mackinlay held on to the Kent seat of South Thanet with an increased majority of 6,387, just one week after it was announced he would be prosecuted.

The Crown Prosecution Service said the decision to press charges came after an investigation by Kent Police concerning allegations relating to Conservative Party expenditure during the 2015 election campaign and before the June 11 statutory time limit on prosecutions.

In 2015, Mackinlay beat Nigel Farage, then Ukip leader, into second place with a majority of almost 3,000.

All three defendants were released on unconditional bail ahead of their next appearance at Southwark Crown Court on August 1.

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From Belfast Telegraph