C4: Conservatives appear to have overspent on three by-elections

Channel 4 News has obtained evidence of tens of thousands of pounds of spending by the Conservatives during key by-election campaigns which appear not to have been declared.

Hundreds of pages of receipts obtained by this programme seem to show undeclared expenditure by the party in three crucial parliamentary by-election campaigns in 2014.

If all the receipts had been declared, the party would appear to have flouted spending limits in all three by-elections in Newark, Clacton, and Rochester & Strood during 2014…

In each of the three by-election campaigns, we found the same pattern with two hotels booked for Conservative campaign workers — one upmarket for senior staff, and one budget Premier Inn for more junior campaign members…

Receipts for the all of the six hotels do not appear to have been declared in the material submitted to the Electoral Commission. [Channel 4]

This is a follow up to Michael Crick’s earlier piece about general election expenses and also echoes his past interest in staff expenses at by-elections.¬†Many years back, when he was then at the BBC, Michael Crick did a similar expose of by-election expenses. That was on Newsnight and, as the current story many years on shows, it came, it went, no legal action followed and the world didn’t change. It’ll be worth watching this story closely to see if it has more purchase this time than last.


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