MP acquitted, top party staffer found guilty in election expenses case

News just in of the court case over the South Thanet election expenses from the 2015 general election:

Conservative politician Craig Mackinlay has been cleared of falsifying election expenses.

The MP for South Thanet had denied making false declarations during his 2015 campaign, when he beat then-UKIP leader Nigel Farage to the seat.

His agent had also been previously cleared.


Party activist Marion Little, 63, from Ware, Hertfordshire, who was tried alongside Mr Mackinlay, was found guilty of two counts of encouraging or assisting an offence.

Marion Little was a senior staffer from Conservative HQ, central to the allegations over the party breaking constituency expense limits by counting things against the national expense limits instead.

The Electoral Commission had previously concluded that the Conservative Party broke the law in this respect and fined the party heavily, in part as a reflection of the repeated failures of the Conservative Party to cooperate properly with the investigations.

As I have regularly pointed out,  there is a huge problem in UK politics with the effective collapse of constituency expense limits – even if everyone keeps within the law. The completion of this case (pending any appeals) may at least help clear the way to tackling that.


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