Conservative MP pleads not guilty over false election expenses

Conservative Party's prospective parliamentary candidate for South Thanet attends a campaign event in Broadstairs southern England
MP Craig Mackinlay due in court over election expenses
Author

04 July, 2017

MacKinlay appeared in London's Westminster Magistrates Court on Tuesday alongside his election agent Nathan Gray, 28, and Marion Little, 62, a campaign director from the Conservatives' head office who both also face charges over the expense returns.

The Crown Prosecution Service said the decision to press charges followed an investigation by Kent Police into allegations surrounding Conservative Party expenditure during the 2015 election campaign.

Mr Mackinlay, of St Georges Square in Pimlico, appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court charged under the Representation of the People Act 1983 with two counts of making a false election expenses declaration.

All said they would plead not guilty when the charges were read to them and they will now go on trial at London's Southwark Crown Court.

MacKinlay reported a total spend of 14,837.77 pounds ($19,171.88) against a maximum limit of 15,016.38 but prosecutors say other expenses were deliberately omitted.

Expenses incurred during the campaign in South Thanet were wrongly attributed to national expenditure instead of local expenditure, it is claimed.

The decision was made before the 11 June statutory limit on prosecutions.

The case comes after allegations of overspending by some Conservative candidates and their agents in the 2015 election.

Little, of Ware, Herts, was charged with three counts of the same.

The second charge also involves Mackinlay but covers the period of 30 March 2015 to 7 May 2015. He beat Nigel Farage, the then leader of the Euroskeptic United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), in 2015 by 2,812 votes.

Two were linked to aiding and abetting Mackinlay and three related to Gray.


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