The Conservatives respond to the electoral fraud findings with a barefaced lie

tories electoral fraud
Support us and go ad-free

The Conservatives have responded to the Electoral Commission’s findings on their party’s election spending with a barefaced lie.

The Conservative Party response

Dozens of Tory MPs face allegations that they overspent in the 2015 general election campaign. The Conservative Party declared expenses on its national return, such as costs associated with the Tories’ Battlebus 2015. But these MPs potentially should have declared them locally. Because some of the campaigning was allegedly for local candidates.

The Electoral Commission has undertaken an investigation into the allegations. And on 16 March, it published its findings, along with a £70,000 fine for the party. In response, a Conservative Party spokesperson said:

CCHQ has always taken the view that its nationally directed battlebus campaign… was part of its national return… The Electoral Commission report makes clear that our interpretation of the guidance was correct…

The spokesperson then quoted from the report to support their claim. But the report shows this statement to be demonstrably false. Or, as The Guardian put it, a very ‘selective’ conclusion.

The EC’s findings

The Electoral Commission said it had found “no evidence” to suggest that the Conservative Party had the “intention” of promoting or securing the “electoral success of candidates” in its funding of the 2015 Battlebus. This is the ‘proof’ the party spokesperson used to show that their interpretation of the rules was “correct”. But the Electoral Commission continues. And it claims, in fact, the exact opposite:

Nevertheless, coaches of activists were transported to marginal constituencies to campaign alongside or in close proximity to local campaigners.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Further, it is apparent that candidate campaigning did take place during the Battlebus2015 campaign.

Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission found no evidence suggesting the party gave any “consideration” to whether candidate campaigning was happening on the Battlebus 2015. The Conservatives just “assumed” they could record those expenses on their national return. And so, as the Electoral Commission explicitly states:

Consequently an inaccurate assumption was made that the full spending should be reported by the party.

With parties like this…

The Conservative Party also didn’t keep appropriate spending records. So the Electoral Commission can’t determine how much it spent properly as a national expense, and what it should have attributed to candidates.

Nonetheless, the Electoral Commission categorically states that the party “should not” have claimed, as a national expense, a “proportion” of what it did. Because it spent that money on candidates.

So the Conservatives’ “interpretation” was not correct. It was “inaccurate”. And the fact the party thinks it can get away with lying about that speaks volumes about this scandal as a whole.

Get Involved

– Read more Canary articles on the Tory fraud allegations.

Support The Canary of you appreciate the work we do.

Featured image via UK Home Office/Flickr and Northern Ireland Office/Flickr

Support us and go ad-free

Do your bit for independent journalism

Did you know that less than 1.5% of our readers contribute financially to The Canary? Imagine what we could do if just a few more people joined our movement to achieve a shared vision of a free and fair society where we nurture people and planet.

We need you to help out, if you can.

When you give a monthly amount to fund our work, you are supporting truly independent journalism. We hold power to account and have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence the counterpoint to the mainstream.

You can count on us for rigorous journalism and fearless opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right wing mainstream media.

In return you get:

  • Advert free reading experience
  • Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
  • 20% discount from our shop

 

The Canary Fund us

Comments are closed