Conservative Chairman resigns after new criminal investigation into election fraud

James Wright

Charles Moran has resigned as Chairman of the Calderdale Conservative Association saying he had “grave concerns” over his MP Craig Whittaker’s actions. This comes after the launch of a criminal investigation into alleged financial irregularities of the Association.

On Wednesday, West Yorkshire police seized the financial accounts of the Association and released a statement to the Political Scrapbook on Friday afternoon:

Police in Calderdale have been made aware of an allegation of financial irregularity.  A criminal investigation has now been launched to examine this allegation, and is in its early stages.

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Emails leaked to the Political Scrapbook shine a light upon what that alleged irregularity may be.

Former Chairman Moran wrote an email to Conservative Councillor Rob Holden explaining his resignation. Within the email, Moran wrote the following:

The fact that the MP is able to not only access the Association’s funds without authority from the Chairman or the Executive is a matter of grave concern. The Constitution is clear that all funds are controlled by the Association and its Executive, the fact that two officers are able to withdraw funds without authority is clearly in breach of the rules.

The email alleges that Conservative MP Craig Whittaker’s officers have had access to the Association’s funds without the authorisation of the Chairman or the Executive, thereby breaking the rules.

Speaking to The Canary, Councillor Holden confirmed the resignation emails, that officers working for Whittaker have had access to the accounts and that this would be a breach of the rules. He said both the former Chairman and himself have been concerned about their inability to oversee the accounts.

Holden said he could not say anything more about the criminal investigation other than that West Yorkshire police had his and the Association’s full cooperation.

The former Chairman’s resignation email continued:

There are issues regarding the recording of cash receipts, lack of cash recording with no receipts issued for payments received, missing invoices and a lack of authorisation for expenditure.

Within the context of a growing electoral fraud scandal spanning across dozens of MPs, letters signed in the Prime Minister’s name and 3 by-elections, another criminal investigation into the Conservative party is the last thing David Cameron needs.

At the time of publication Craig Whittaker MP has not responded to our request for comment. The Canary will continue to report on this developing story.

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