Darren Adam is Leading Britain's Conversation.
10 May 2017, 18:54
Conservative MP Says Election Investigation Was Politically Motivated
Karl McCartney told Iain Dale that The Electoral Commission isn’t “politically neutral” and needs to be changed.
The Crown Prosecution Service confirmed today that no Conservative MPs would be charged over breeches of election rules from the 2015 general election.
The cases where passed to the police by The Electoral Commission.
Iain Dale spoke to one of the cleared MPs, Karl McCartney, about the investigation.
Iain asked the MP for Lincoln whether changes were needed at The Electoral Commission following the investigation. He said the organisation was not impartial.
“There was one particular person, Louise Edwards - who I think it has been made very clear has been politically motivated and is certainly not politically neutral - and the management team around her.”
The investigation centred around a Conservative party battle bus.
Mistakes were found in the expense submission for the bus and in March the Conservatives were fined £70,000 for it.
Labour and the Liberal Democrats were also fined for similar failings.
Under spending rules, local spending must be fully declared. The allegation was that the bus, which was filed as a national campaign expenditure but appeared in the area, should have been treated as a local expenditure.
Labour and the Lib Dems were not investigated for this.
Mr McCartney believed a double standard had been applied to target MPs in marginal seats.
“The Conservative party had done exactly the same as the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats.
“What annoyed myself and other colleagues caught up in this was that it only Conservative candidates that became Members of Parliament in marginal seats that The Electoral Commission directed local police to investigate.”
Mr McCartney’s case, and 13 others, were dismissed without charge by the Crown Prosecution Service.
One case, in South Thanet, where Craig Mackinlay beat Nigel Farage to the seat, is still open. The CPS said this is because the case was submitted later than the others.
Watch the full interview:
Ian Speaks To Karl McCartney About Election Spending Investigation
Iain Dale speaks to Conservative MP Karl McCartney who was cleared in a 2016 election spending investigation.