More revelations Thursday as the saga continues but when will the Electoral Commission act?
Op-ed: Allegations of election overspending look set to undermine the legitimacy of the UK Tory government but will allegations be explained away?
Once again Channel 4 news is at the heart of allegations against the Conservative party. Early in 2015 they broke the story of David Cameron's fathers' links to an off shore tax haven following it up a few months later with "George Osborne family business' £6m offshore deal"; in 2016 it has been a series of revelations that appear to indicate the Tory Party did not play fair during the 2015 General Election campaign.
Maybe that is why in November 2015, according to the Mail Online, "Channel 4 could be sold off to raise £1billion: Cameron confirms ministers are 'looking at all the options' for station." Cameron was quick to insist he was a huge fan of Channel 4 harking back to its origins; he may however not like the direction its news service is now taking.
Channel 4 investigators have uncovered a series of overspends by the Tory party during its successful 2015 General Election campaign; a lot depends on what was local spending and what national.
Wednesday Jon Snow was in the TV studio with nine empty chairs as those accused opted not to take part. But there is every chance the corruption runs deeper than just nine people.
[Thursday evening Channel 4 news had 24 empty chairs to represent the number of Tory MPs accused of election overspending and invited on to the show. The invitation was extended to the Labour party too but no person or persons agreed to take part}
"Channel 4 News has obtained further undeclared receipts showing more than £38,000 was spent accommodating activists at hotels across the country, as part of the BattleBus2015 campaign. The spending was not declared to the Electoral Commission in accordance with the law. The investigation has also obtained evidence that the BattleBus campaign was focused on local candidates, suggesting the accommodation costs incurred should have been declared on local candidate spending returns, if so this could constitute a criminal offence."
The Conservative party claims administrative errors or should that be incompetence though some will suspect purposeful wrongdoing in order to win an election at any price.
And although the Conservative party and others may try to dismiss the allegations selective overspending at elections is a criminal offence.
The typical Tory method of firstly denying allegations and then back pedalling somewhat should not save them this time, assuming the Electoral Commission and our political system is fit for purpose.
"The Conservative Party today confirmed to Channel 4 News that it had failed to declare the costs related to the Battlebus hotels due to what it described as an "administrative error" despite previously stating that all of the party's returns were accurate."
While in many ways it matters whether the extra costs were actually an administrative error or the Tories flouting the rules to get their way back into government either way it looks like they have broken the law.
Will the Conservative Party run true to form trying to dig up election spending inconsistencies a cross parties and maybe even reforming the electoral commission and its rules to suit?
The Electoral Commission has strict rules about election spending but does it have any teeth when it comes to wrongdoing?
So "The Electoral Commission is an independent body set up by the UK Parliament. It regulates party and election finance and sets standards for well-run elections. The Commission is independent of Government and answerable to Parliament" but is it?
Channel 4 News's Political Correspondent Michael Crick has spent more than three months investigating Conservative Party expenses in 2014 and 2015.
22/4/2016 01:49:46 pm
How much more das it take to pull the Tories in and make them responsible for their action? They literally get away with blue murder. There is not one week when there is not a major scandal about them and are getting dealt with. Iceland's PM was involved with the Panama scandal and the people had him soon out. This Mr "Slim" is still sitting safe and sound. Even Jon Snow came out of hiding and shouted on to of his voice about the slackness of the people who do not get him out.
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