Conservatives admit failing to declare £38k of campaign expenditure

The Conservatives have admitted failing to declare £38,000 of general election expenses.

The party blamed an “administrative error” for failing to register the accommodation costs of activists involved in the Battlebus 2015 operation.
The admission follows a Channel 4 investigation.

A Conservative spokesman said the party had already brought the error to the attention of the Electoral Commission.

The Tories insisted the Battlebus operation was part of the national campaign organised by Conservative Campaign HQ and, as such, the expenditure did not form part of the spending by individual candidates. [BBC]

That final paragraph is, of course, a particular point of debate at the moment, given the Battlebus operation targeted marginal seats, including many held by the Liberal Democrats. Michael Crick’s latest report for Channel 4 has more on this key point:

No wonder that Adrian Sanders, one of the Lib Dems MPs defeated in 2015, thinks the police should investigate.

Whether or not the law was broken is, of course, very important. But it’s worth also emphasising that what is legal these days is also a very big problem.

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