As I’ve previously pointed out, the public announcements due from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) over election fraud cases involving upwards of 30 Conservative MPs and officials could upend the general election campaign.
Today The Independent has the latest on when that CPS news will come:
If it decides to launch criminal proceedings, the investigation could have a dramatic impact on a snap election which was called by Theresa May last month when she was top of the polls.
A spokesman for the CPS told The Independent, “We have nothing to add to our previous position which is that we are working to various deadlines in late May and early June.”
The CPS is under pressure to make a decision due to legal time limits around when cases have to be brought over election-related wrongdoing.
Note that “late May” reference in particular. General election polling day is in June.
The fraud allegations centre on claims that the Conservatives evaded constituency election expense limits by wrongly declaring items as national expenditure (and so subject to another, more generous limit) rather than as local expenditure.
The Electoral Commission has already levied a record-breaking fine on the Conservative Party, in part for wrongly including in its national expenditure limit items which should have been included in the local expenses limit.
The Commission, however, does not, however, have enforcement powers over those local limits. Hence the additional police and CPS process looking at the Conservative MPs and officials responsible for the local expense returns. Whilst the Commission fined the Conservative Party, this second legal process, if it goes ahead, puts individuals in the legal firing line.
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