political

20 Tory MPs named as facing police investigation over election expenses

UPDATE: This post started with 9 MPs, which has now crept up to 20. The Conservative majority in the House of Commons is 12.

Twenty Conservative MPs have so far been named as being under police investigation*:

  • Stuart Andrew (Pudsey – Conservative hold in 2015)
  • Gavin Barwell (Croydon Central – Conservative hold in 2015)
  • Neil Carmichael (Stroud – Conservative hold in 2015)
  • Maria Caulfield (Lewes – Conservative gain from Lib Dem in 2015)
  • Alex Chalk (Cheltenham – Conservative gain from Lib Dem in 2015)
  • Oliver Colville (Plymouth Sutton and Devonport – Conservative hold in 2015)
  • Michael Ellis (Northampton North – Conservative hold in 2015)
  • George Eustice (Camborne and Redruth – Conservative hold in 2015)
  • Graham Evans (Weaver Vale – Conservative hold in 2015)
  • Kevin Foster (Torbay – Conservative gain from Lib Dem in 2015, where the police have called in another force as the Police and Crime Commissioner was the Tory agent in 2015)
  • Luke Hall (Thornbury and Yate – Conservative gain from Lib Dem in 2015)
  • Marcus Jones (Nuneaton – Conservative hold in 2015)
  • Scott Mann (North Cornwall – Conservative gain from Lib Dem in 2015)
  • Karl McCartney (Lincoln – Conservative hold in 2015)
  • Amanda Milling (Cannock Chase – Conservative hold in 2015)
  • David Nuttall (Bury North – Conservative hold in 2015)
  • Will Quince (Colchester – Conservative gain from Lib Dem in 2015)
  • Mary Robinson (Cheadle – Conservative gain from Lib Dem in 2015)
  • Anna Soubry (Broxtowe – Conservative hold in 2015)
  • Mark Spencer (Sherwood – Conservative hold in 2015)

Moreover it looks like a Conservative candidate (or possibly a Labour MP) is under investigation in Chester, which was a Labour gain from the Tories in 2015:

It is possible other MPs will also be investigated as the Conservative Battlebus 2015 tours at the centre of the allegations visited many other seats and at least 12 police forces are looking seriously at the issue.

In addition, the number of police forces who have asked for or secured an extension to the legal time limits for investigations suggests there may be further unnamed MPs being investigated.

Note: the seats listed above exclude Chippenham as it was only visited by the national David Cameron Battlebus, rather than the activist Battlebus 2015 tours. The police have already decided therefore that there is not a case to investigate in Chippenham. The list also excludes the separate case Johnny Mercer.

Labour

On the Labour side of the issue, the police are investigating MP Cat Smith – especially over rent and staffing costs – and there are also questions over Labour’s own bus tours, the costs for which went on the national expense return but which may have been carrying out campaigning for local candidates. However, Michael Crick’s digging into those has not turned up very much.

Three Labour MPs in Yorkshire are being investigated by the police over staff costs and their election expenses.

Liberal Democrats

Former Liberal Democrat MPs Duncan Hames, Tessa Munt, Adrian Sanders and Dan Rogerson have been cleared by the police. Further news is awaited in the cases of Norman Baker and Nick Clegg.

Full Tory Battlebus list

Meanwhile, from Channel 4 again here is the list of all 29 seats visited by the Battlebus tours in the last ten days of the 2015 general election:

SOUTH WEST (Nine seats visited April 27 – May 5)
Yeovil; Cheltenham; Torbay; Thornbury and Yate; Wells; Stroud; Plymouth, Sutton & Devonport; Camborne & Redruth; North Cornwall

MIDLANDS (Ten seats visited April 27 – May 6)
Cannock Chase; Northampton North; Sherwood; Broxtowe; Nuneaton; Amber Valley; Wolverhampton South West; Lincoln; Erewash; Dudley South.

NORTH WEST (Ten seats visited May 2 to May 6)
Halifax; Carlisle; Rossendale & Darwen; Morecambe & Lunesdale; Cheadle; City of Chester; Pudsey, Horsforth & Aireborough; Bury North; Weaver Vale; Hazel Grove.

The Battlebus is by no means the only legal problem the Tories have: there is also the matter of direct mail and billboard posters.

* Channel 4 originally named nine Conservative MPs as being investigated over their general election expense returns, and then added a tenth, eleventh and twelfth name. To which there is also a thirteenth name via the Daily Mirror, a fourteenth name via details I’ve been given direct and a fifteenth via the BBC. The Mirror has now added a further, 16th, name and BBC Gloucestershire the 17th and 18th names. The 19th name has come from the Lincolnshire media. The 20th comes from personal information.

Keep up with news about elections by email

If you’d like to be notified by email when new posts about how are how our elections are run appear on this blog, just sign up here. (Note: if you’re already signed up for a daily email alert with all my new blog posts, then there’s no need to sign up for these alerts too as the stories will also be in the full daily digest.)

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Interested in more stories about how our elections are run? Follow my dedicated election law channels on Facebook or Twitter which include bonus extra stories that don’t appear on this blog.

There are 10 comments Share your views

Share your views

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment moderation policy