Friday 17 March 2017

Cameron On Tory Party Election Breaches

Tory Party

The former prime minister insisted the undeclared money only amounted to 0.6% of the total amount of money spent.

An Electoral Commission investigation handed down the fine after the party failed to properly declare £275,000 of spending.

The commission found "significant failings" in the way spending was reported during the 2015 election campaign and three by-elections in 2014, when he was PM and Tory leader.

Asked about the "significant failings" claim, Mr Cameron, who resigned last summer in the wake of the EU referendum, said: "In terms of a party being fined, this is not the first time this has happened.

"Other parties have been fined. In terms of the percentage of spending that wasn't declared that should have been declared, it was something like 0.6% of total spending.

"We spent well under the cap for the election spending limit."

Mr Cameron later appeared to defend the current procedures in place, saying: "I'm very glad that we do have robust election spending limits and robust ways of policing these things in this country."

The commission concluded there was a "realistic prospect" the party gained a "financial advantage" over opponents and that the party's then treasurer Simon Day may have known the spending returns were wrong.

Mr Day, who was treasurer until April last year and signed off the party's expenses declaration, has been referred by the commission to the Metropolitan Police.

The commission report into the investigation disclosed:

  • In all, the expenses returns for the 2015 election were missing at least £104,765 of payments, £118,125 were incorrectly reported, £52,924 of receipts were not provided

  • No records were kept for amounts invoiced to candidates in three 2014 by-elections.

  • The party failed to declare two-thirds of its £102,483 spending on its Battlebus2015 campaign because of "human error"

  • The Battlebus2015 national campaign resources were in part used to campaign for individual candidates but declared as national Conservative Party spending

  • The commission had to get a High Court order to get information from the Conservative Party to help with the investigation and "caused a delay"

A Conservative Party spokesman said: "This is the first time the Conservative Party has been fined for a reporting error.

"We regret that and will continue to keep our internal processes under review to ensure this does not happen again."

The commission findings come amid a continuing police investigation into election fraud and whether the party breached strict spending limits in target seats, including the South Thanet seat contested by Nigel Farage.



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