Theresa May’s joint Chief of Staff, Nick Timothy, has been dragged into the Conservative election expenses scandal. Channel 4 News has uncovered evidence that he “provided assistance” to the Conservatives’ controversial campaign to stop Nigel Farage winning a seat in South Thanet in the 2015 general election – a campaign which is currently being investigated by Kent Police.
Now it turns out he was also part of a “crack team” that the Conservatives sent to South Thanet to fight Nigel Farage in a controversial election campaign that has attracted the attention of both the Electoral Commission and Kent Police.
On 15 November, Channel 4 News revealed that:
Mr Timothy played a part in the controversial campaign in South Thanet, which is now under investigation by police.
The Conservative Party has since confirmed (paywall) that Timothy did spend the 2015 general election campaign in the Royal Harbour Hotel in Ramsgate, part of the South Thanet constituency. Overall, the Conservatives spent around £14,000 on the hotel during the election – but that spending was declared as a national expense by the party, rather than as local spending by Conservative candidate Craig Mackinlay.
Electoral Commission guidance says that any “campaigning to promote a particular candidate or candidates in their local area” should be declared as local, candidate spending. Had Mackinlay declared £14,000 of hotel costs as part of his campaign, he would have breached the legal limit of around £15,000.
I can confirm that nobody staying at the hotel was subject to my, or my agent’s, control or direction, any national Conservative Party staff based in the Royal Harbour Hotel were part of a national campaign team and were engaged in activities at the direction of Conservative Central Headquarters.
The local campaign
But now, Channel 4 News has unearthed “scores” of pictures and documents suggesting that Timothy and other senior Conservative staff staying at the Royal Harbour Hotel were closely involved in Mackinlay’s campaign:
But new evidence obtained by this programme, Channel 4 News, suggests key Conservatives did work on the local campaign and there are serious questions for the MP, Craig Mackinlay, on whether he fully disclosed everything he knew about the operation to the police.
SNP MP Tommy Sheppard said of the revelations:
There is a lot of evidence to suggest that these people were directly and centrally involved in Mr Mackinlay’s campaign and the expenses related to that ought to have been declared… I think it’s time to come clean.
Mackinlay – who has tried but failed to block a police investigation into election expenses in South Thanet – ended up beating Farage by a mere 2,812 votes. His win helped to secure a slim majority for the Conservative government – a majority that has allowed it to hold an EU referendum and to dictate the terms of Brexit. If that government was put there through electoral fraud, the questions raised for our democracy could not be more serious.
– Read The Canary’s previous stories on the election expenses scandal.
– Support The Canary so we can keep holding the Conservative government to account.
Featured image via Flickr
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?