No 10 'deeply worried' by police investigations into 2015 election spending - report
Downing Street is “deeply worried” about a police investigation into allegations of electoral fraud in Tory seats during the 2015 general election, The Times reports.
A police investigation into whether the party spent more on local campaigns that the legal limit is believed to be targeting MPs in six constituencies, although at one stage 24 areas were being investigated.
Senior figures fear that the investigation outcome could void votes in a number of areas, triggering by-elections. Individuals in the party could also face criminal charges.
A police source told the paper that the result of the investigation would be sent to the Crown Prosecution Service within weeks.
Another police source said: “While there’s been a large number of investigations, it’s widely thought that they will make examples of one or two cases.”
Ministers, aides, and MPs told the paper that the investigation was causing a stir in No 10. “The problem for No 10 is that they do not know where this will end and they do not know who is leaking against them,” one source said. “They are deeply worried about this.”
The police investigation comes after Channel 4 uncovered receipts that call party spending in South Thanet into question. Craig Mackinlay MP declared spending of £14,838 but Channel 4 claims the real figure was £33,989.
The Daily Mirror also claimed that 23 Tory MPs failed to declare spending on RoadTrip battlebuses, which toured the country to lend support to candidates in the last days of the election campaign. The paper said that Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) instead picked up the bill, believed to be more than £2,000 a day.
On the battlebus, a spokesman for the party said: “CCHQ campaigned across the country for the return of a Conservative government. Such campaigning would be part of the national return, not local return, as the Electoral Commission has said. As is apparent from our national return, the party declared expenditure related to our CCHQ-organised battlebus.
“However, due to an administrative error it omitted to declare the accommodation costs of those using the vehicles. This is something we have already brought to the attention of the Electoral Commission in order to amend the return.”