The chair of the Calderdale Conservatives Association has resigned after growing internal controversy over its accounts being submitted to the Electoral Commission.
A sourced leaked the resignation emails to Political Scrapbook this morning.
In an email sent yesterday afternoon by Charles Moran, ex-chair of the CVCA, said he was resigning after a “breakdown in relations” with the MP and two officers of the Association.
But the main reason for his resignation seems to be launch of a criminal investigation into financial irregularities at the Association.
An email from Councillor Rob Holden, Deputy Chair of the Calder Valley Conservatives, leaked to Political Scrapbook, says that West Yorkshire police seized the accounts in connection with their enquiries.
West Yorkshire Police released a statement to Political Scrapbook this afternoon:
Police in Calderdale have been made aware of an allegation of financial irregularity. A criminal investigation has now been launched to examine this allegation, and is its early stages.
In a phone conversation with Political Scrapbook this afternoon, deputy chair cllr Rob Holden confirmed the resignation and the email. He added:
All I can say right now is that West Yorkshire police have mine and the Association’s full cooperation.
The blog Impolite Conversation claims that Craig Whittaker MP’s office is to be investigated next, but we could not confirm that.
The emails below give more insight into why the chair resigned, and why West Yorkshire Police is now investigating.
More on this developing story soon…
Sent: 26 May 2016 14:03
From: Charles Moran <[email protected]>
To: Rob Holden, Jasbir Singh
It is with regret that I am writing to you to tender my resignation as Chairman of CVCA as of today’s date.
As you are aware, it has taken some time to get to the bottom of the Association’s finances, a task you requested be carried out last October. Whilst there are still outstanding issues with the accounts I have submitted to the Electoral Commission,it is a best estimate and I have also copied it to Andy Stedman at Compliance. The reason I have been unable to accurately finalise the accounts is as a result of missing records that have been requested from the Treasurer on several occasions and have not been supplied. Attached to this email is a copy of a Chartered Accountant’s report which states that the accounts are not being kept as they should be. There are issues regarding the recording of cash receipts, lack of cash recording with no receipts issued for payments received, missing invoices and a lack of authorisation for expenditure. Clearly the Executive has a responsibility to correct these shortcomings.
You will also be aware of the toxic nature of my tenure as Chairman, due to the breakdown in relations with the MP and two officers of the Association. This situation is unacceptable and steps need to be taken to separate the Parliamentary Party from the Voluntary Party. The fact that the MP is able to not only access the Association’s funds without authority from the Chairman or the Executive is a matter of grave concern. The Constitution is clear that all funds are controlled by the Association and its Executive, the fact that two officers are able to withdraw funds without authority is clearly in breach of the rules. The fact that I, as Chairman, am not on the mandate and neither are you, the Deputy Fund Raising and Membership, is also a matter which I consider to be unacceptable.
Whilst it has been difficult for me as Chairman for the past year, I can’t help feeling disappointed that once again we have failed to take outright control of Calderdale Council, largely as a result of resources being diverted to a safe seat at the expense of target seats. We lost one of the target seats by less than a100 votes.
Above attached is a schedule of missing information, Chartered Accountant’s report and a copy of the estimated accounts that have been sent to Compliance and the Electoral Commission. Would you mind ensuring that these documents together with my email to you are circulated with the AGM calling notice to all members when you decide to call it please?
Subject: FW: Resignation CVCA
Sent: 26 May 2016 14:27
From: Rob Holden <[email protected]>
To: Brighouse Campaign Centre
I am writing to you further to receiving the resignation of Mr Charles Moran as Chairman of the Calder Valley Conservative Association. I feel saddened that he has felt the need to stand down but thoroughly understand his reasons following his extremely poor treatment by certain members of the Association. The accounts (albeit incomplete) have finally been filed with the Electoral Commission.
Attached are the findings of the financial review that I requested back in October 2015 and I have to say that they do not make great reading as far as record keeping and propriety are concerned. Yesterday the accounts of the Association were seized by the Police in connection with enquiries they are currently undertaking; the officer from the fraud and financial irregularities team has been assured that they will receive the ongoing co-operation of the Association with their investigation.
I am currently in discussions with the Area Chairman regarding the next steps concerning the AGM etc. and as soon as possible I will provide everyone with an update.
I would like to thank Charles for the considerable contribution that he has made to both the Association and the party as a whole and hope that now the financial review has been completed, lessons will be learned and we can move the Association forward.
Councillor Rob Holden
Deputy Chairman, Calder Valley Conservatives.