Well what a week it’s been folks; there’s the tories thinking they’ve got the General Election 2015 all sewn up in the bag and along comes Channel 4, The Daily Mirror, The Electoral Commission and several police forces to burst their bubble.
Unless you’re living in a cave or rely solely on the BBC and the Daily Mail for your news, then you may not have been aware of what’s been going on, but basically, Parliamentary candidates and the parties that they represent are subject to statutory spending limits in terms of their election expenses.
It is an offence under the Representation of the Peoples Act, for a candidate and/or his or her agent to exceed those spending limits. It is also an offence to submit a false electoral return.
A breach may be prosecuted under the Act as an illegal practice.
If a person is convicted of such an illegal practice, they may be barred from standing for Parliament or holding office for 3 years.
In the case of a sitting MP, an illegal practice automatically voids the result of his or her election which will then force a by – election in that constituency.
Following Channel 4’s investigation into alleged election expenses fraud by the tories in key marginal seats; documents were passed to the Electoral Commission for investigation. The police are involved because the act of fraud is a criminal offence.
This video shows Channel 4’s investigative journalist Michael Crick (who’s very light on his feet for a man of his age) door stepping Lord Feldman:-
- 33 constituencies involved
- 29 winning Tory MPs implicated
- 10 police forces investigating
According to the Parliament UK website http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/current-state-of-the-parties/ the current Conservative majority is:-
|Working Government Majority||17|
So you can see then, that if each of the 29 winning tory MPs implicated are proven to have committed fraud, following the Electoral Commission and Police investigation, then essentially, they will be removed from office, the election result will be void and a by – election will have to take place and the tories could potentially lose their majority if another tory MP does not gain the seat.
I like many others, believe that the EU referendum should be suspended until the outcome of the investigation is concluded. David Cameron promised to hold a referendum if he won the 2015 general election.
The point is, if these 29 tories or at least 17 or more of them, have committed an “illegal practice” then the tories will not have “won” the General Election will they.
For the same reason, no new legislation should be passed and depending on the outcome of the investigation and the result of any by – elections, all laws passed since 2015 should be repealed.
On 1 June 2016, Kent Police made an application to the court to extend the time of their investigation (normally they have a year from the date the Electoral returns are submitted) but because of obfuscation and delays by the conservative party, that time limit was in danger of being exceeded. The MP for South Thanet, Craig Mackinlay, objected to the extension (he was the only MP to do so)
Now why would he do that if he had nothing to worry about? What is the tories always say as they impose ever more surveillance laws on us … “nothing to hide, nothing to fear”
Anyway, Kent Police were successful in their application to extend the deadline for their investigation and it’s likely to be the Autumn before we hear anything about the outcome of the investigation.
If an employee fiddled their expenses, they’d be subjected to disciplinary procedures and possibly dismissed.
If a claimant fraudulently claimed benefits, they’d probably be prosecuted.
If a taxpayer sent in an incorrect return they’d be subjected to penalties.
I shall leave you with a copy of the judgement decision – it makes for interesting reading:-