Saturday, 29 April 2017

Election Expenses in Greater Manchester

ON the 17th March 2017, the MEN reported a probe into 2015 election expenses - with the police handing files to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), and involving three Greater Manchester MPs, according to the Manchester Evening News [MEN].
Detectives are now investigating whether three Conservative MPs breached strict spending limits at the last General Election.
It has recently been revealed a file has been handed to the CPS following an issue over spending on a ‘battle bus’ tour of marginal constituencies.
Complaints have been made that the costs - of the buses to transport activists and put them up in hotels - should have been recorded as counting towards individual candidates’ spending limits, rather than to the Conservatives’ national expenses return.
Bury North MP David Nuttall - who denies any wrongdoing - was initially confirmed to be involved in the GMP probe, with details of his election expenses handed to the CPS.  An additional problem for Mr. Nuttall and the constituents in Bury North, is that this week Karen Danczu told the Rochdale Observer that she fancied standing as the Labour candidate in Bury North.  Ms. Danczuk is the ex-wife of the disgraced Rochdale MP, Simon Danczuk, who has had expenses scandals of his own, and she was a undistinguished local councilor in Rochdale for a while.
The M.E.N. has now learned Hazel Grove MP William Wragg and Cheadle MP Mary Robinson have also been investigated - and that their cases will be reviewed by prosecutors.
Battle buses visited both constituencies in the run up to the election.
Former Stockport councillor Mr Wragg snatched Hazel Grove from the Lib Dems in 2015.
He told the M.E.N: 'I was assured, at the time and now, that the battle bus was a national expense and my election agent was instructed by Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) to treat it as such.
'Accordingly it was not declared locally, but was left for the party to declare nationally.'

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