Published: Thu, May 11, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

May swipes at critics as Tories are cleared over expenses

May swipes at critics as Tories are cleared over expenses

Head of Special Crimes for the CPS, Nick Vamos, stated that although there was evidence to suggest the returns may have been inaccurate, there wasn't enough evidence to suggestion intentional wrong doing.

No Conservative politicians or officials will now face charges for breaches of expense rules during the 2015 general election.

The police investigations focused on whether candidates broke the law in 2015 by recording spending by busloads of party activists sent to key seats as part of national spending, not as part of more limited local budgets.

Prosecutors will not take action against 14 Conservatve MPs over claims their 2015 general election expenses were labelled incorrectly. The CPS said they had only received information about the seat recently and it would "remain under consideration". He said that although candidates had made inaccurate expense declarations, there was insufficient evidence to prove they knew the statements to be wrong.

After the CPS announcement, Tory chairman Patrick McLoughlin said the allegations against the Conservatives had been "politically motivated and unfounded", and that they had "wasted police time".

The Crown Prosecution Service's decision not to charge around a dozen Conservative candidates accused of incorrect election expenses will come as a huge relief to the Prime Minister.

It said: "The inclusion in the Party return of what, in the Commission's view, should have been reported as candidate spending meant that there was a realistic prospect that this enabled its candidates to gain a financial advantage over opponents".

He says "notwithstanding these false claims", the Tories want to strengthen electoral rules.

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Answering questions after a speech in Leeds, Mr Corbyn said he was "interested and surprised" by the CPS decision, but would have to look at the details of it.

The Conservative Party recorded the cost of the bus, known as Battlebus2015, as general party expenditure rather than as part of campaigns to elect the individual candidates.

According to the Electoral Commission, the Conservative Party also failed to maintain records explaining the amounts it invoiced to candidates in three 2014 by-elections, for work on their campaigns which meant the accuracy of the amounts could not be verified.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron also lashed out at Tories over the spending fiasco, saying they had "stayed the right side of the law, by the letter of it" but had "driven a battle bus and horses right the way through the spirit of it".

"Quite clearly the Electoral Commission is independent, the CPS is independent, the Director of Public Prosecutions is independent".

"This election is about strong and stable leadership for the next five years".

Prosecutors have been investigating claims that the Conservatives disguised local expenses as national ones in several close-fought constituencies.

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