Political

And another Guido Fawkes story about Lib Dem election expenses falls apart…

Yesterday I reported on how police had cleared former Lib Dems MP Adrian Sanders of the election expense allegations pushed heavily by Guido Fawkes:

Guido Fawkes… alleged that allocating part of the costs of Adrian Sanders’s general election freepost leaflet (printing paid for by the candidate, but delivery provided free by the Royal Mail) against the national expense return was a breach of the law.

However, as the Royal Mail’s own regulations make clear, it is permissible to refer to national politics in such mailings. Moreover the Electoral Commission in its advice to the Liberal Democrats ahead of the general election also confirmed that having part of the election address count against national expenses is permissible.

It is therefore no surprise that Adrian Sanders allocated part of his expenses for the leaflet against the national return too, nor that the police then decided they are happy with this approach too.

The only surprise really is that with all those factors lined up Guido Fawkes omitted such key and basic information from his piece…

(At time of writing Guido has failed to update his story to cover the little detail of it all being wrong. Oops…)

Today, news that Guido’s allegations against former Lib Dem MP Tessa Munt have similarly fallen apart. Guido claimed that the police were investigating her election expenses.

However, as with the Adrian Sanders piece, when you read the detail carefully even the original story didn’t stand up as the police quote didn’t name Tessa Munt:

Avon and Somerset Constabulary have received a number of allegations in relation to improper spending in the 2015 General Election. We will be applying for an extension to the time allowed to investigate and continue to liaise closely with the Electoral Commission.

And guess what? The police’s latest statement, clarifying exactly who they are investigating, only names the Conservatives and the legal extension was only sought by the police to investigate the Tories, not Tessa Munt:

Avon and Somerset Constabulary has received a number of allegations in relation to improper spending in the 2015 General Election by the Conservative Party. We have today been granted extensions of 12 months to the time allowed to investigate and continue to liaise closely with other forces and the Electoral Commission over this matter.

Oops, again.

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