A witness statement by the Electoral Commission revealed that the Tories ignored four requests for more information over their election expenses.
The revelations illustrate the extent to which the Tories are trying to block, hide or just delay police investigation into the growing Tory Election Fraud scandal.
The party ignored legal notices and repeated requests for information from the Electoral Commission four times in total, they revealed in a witness statement.
And all of that related just to the constituency of South Thanet, where Kent Police had asked for an extension to investigate allegations the Tories didn’t properly account for their spending to win the seat.
The Electoral Commission detailed the Tory attempts to ignore and block their investigations in a witness statement when backing the Kent police request.
Here are those four attempts:
On 18 February 2016, the [Electoral] Commission wrote to the [Conservative] Party … and issued a Notice under Schedule 19B paragraph 3 of PPERA. This Notice required the Party to produce material relating to the South Thanet matters. At the Party’s request the Commission extended the deadline for the provision of this material… When the Party formally responded to the Notice, the Commission considered that the Party had failed to comply fully with it.
On 23 March 2016 the Commission issued the Party was a second Notice … The Party did not comply with this Notice…
On 22 April 2016, the Commission wrote to the Party. It gave the Party a further deadline for the provision of the material the Party had failed to provide under two statutory Notices … On 28 April 2016 the Party’s legal representatives wrote to the Commission setting out its rationale for being unable to comply with the Commission’s request by the deadline given.
By letter dated 29 April 2016, the Commission wrote to the Party’s legal representatives and gave a final extended deadline… The party did not provide any further material by that extended deadline.
Strict election spending limits are there to make sure that political parties have a roughly equal playing field, and that one party cannot use its financial firepower to overwhelm others.
Tories in South Thanet tried to block Kent Police request for an extention but failed.
Currently, across the UK, 18 police forces are investigating 33 constituencies over allegations that election spending limits were flouted to win the local seat.
The judge in the South Thanet case yesterday said:
The consequences of a conviction would be of a local and national significance with the potential for election results being declared void.
More on this story next week…