Channel 4 News host Jon Snow was left to interview nine empty chairs on the flagship news programme this week, when not a single MP accused in the 2015 election expenses scandal accepted an invitation to defend themselves.
The Canary’s Bex Sumner wrote on the issue earlier this year, reporting that:
In the weeks before the 2015 general election, the Conservatives’ “RoadTrip 2015” campaign buses criss-crossed the country, helping Conservative candidates in marginal seats to win their election campaigns. Those buses have since been credited with winning the general election for the Conservatives – including by David Cameron, who told the now disgraced head of RoadTrip:
We quite simply could not have done it without you.
Now an investigation by The Mirror suggests that the 24 Conservative candidates who were helped to victory by the buses failed to declare the cost of the buses, along with associated food and hotel expenses, in their election campaign spending.
If they had, 20 of them would likely have exceeded the strict spending cap that limits how much candidates can spend on election campaigns. The aim of that spending limit is to protect democracy by ensuring a level playing field between political parties. Breaching it or “making a false declaration as to election expenses” are both criminal offences.
But the further Crick and his colleagues keep digging, the murkier the picture gets. Snow laid out the bones of the scandal on Twitter, making a number of stinging points which bear our consideration.
By the end of tonight's @channel4news we shall have revealed undeclared exepenses in 26 seats at the 2015 election: Tory Majority in 2015 18
— Jon Snow (@jonsnowC4) April 21, 2016
If we, with our limited resources, have revealed undeclared exenses in 26 Tory seats: How many more seats suffered the same abuse?
— Jon Snow (@jonsnowC4) April 21, 2016
This week, 9 Conservative MPs alleged to have participated in or benefitted from the scandal were invited into the Channel 4 studios to make their case. All nine refused.
— Hayley Barlow (@Hayley_Barlow) April 20, 2016
This meant Jon Snow was left to interview nine empty chairs, which perhaps spoke more on the topic at hand than had the MPs shown up.
— Ben de Pear (@bendepear) April 20, 2016
Featured Image via Screengrab
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