Thursday, 27 April 2017

why does all this matter

2015 General Election, Labour Party[edit]

In October 2016, the Labour Party was fined £20,000 by the Electoral Commission for underreporting of election expenses at national level, which at the time was the largest fine the commission had imposed since being founded in 2001. The Commission noted the party's co-operation in its investigation.[5] The same Channel 4 investigation that identified the Conservative Party's questionable spending failed to find substantial evidence of similar problems in the Labour campaign.[32]
At constituency level, police investigated allegations that several MPs breached local spending limits. In May 2016, Lancashire Constabulary announced that an investigation had been opened into Labour Party expenses following allegations that Cat Smith, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood broke election spending laws.[33][34] However, in November 2016 they cleared Smith of any wrongdoing and fully exonerated her.[35] Other cases seem likewise to have been droppedThe clock is ticking on #electionexpenses. The deadlines for police action start to expire around two years after the 2015 General Election.
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The investigation begins

Channel 4 News has unearthed compelling evidence that the Conservatives may have flouted election laws during the 2015 General Election and in three earlier by-elections. The Electoral Commission and more than a dozen police forces are now investigating. The story began when our reporter started asking questions about the party’s official spending return.
January 2016
20 JAN 2016

Election Expenses published - the investigation begins

22 JAN 2016

Ramsgate ‘sleazebuster’ refers Tory £14,000 hotel bills to Kent police

Why does this all matter?

Who's who

Michael Crick

22 JAN 2016

Electoral Commission investigates Conservative expenses

Undeclared receipts

By February our investigators had secured hundreds of pages of seemingly undeclared receipts for hotel rooms used to host Conservatives during three key by-elections in 2014. If these costs should have been declared in the candidates' spending returns, they would have taken each of them over the legal spending limits.
February 2016
8 FEB 2016

How the story first broke - with our exclusive report

How do election expenses work?

8 FEB 2016

The documents that broke the story wide open

Who's who

Nigel Farage


hotel nights


Amount allegedly overspent by Tory winner in South Thanet

Experts and politicians react to the revelations

How much did the candidates declare - and what we found

The fight to stop Nigel Farage

We also obtained receipts from the Conservative campaign in South Thanet. This was the key battleground seat where the party fought to stop UKIP leader Nigel Farage winning a seat in Parliament. The evidence we unearthed here suggests the Conservative candidate, Craig Mackinlay, may have spent more than twice the legal limit on his campaign.
9 FEB 2016

Did the Conservatives overspend in Thanet South?

Who's responsible?

12 FEB 2016

Channel 4 News Editor demands answers

“Booking out a hotel and putting senior Tory staff in it for a long time could not possibly have been national expenditure”

Nigel Farage
12 FEB 2016

Newark MP questioned over claims the Tories overspent

24 FEB 2016

More evidence emerges regarding Clacton by-election

18 FEB 2016

Election Commission launches first probe

Daily Mirror report raises questions about Battlebus

The Electoral Commission begins its probes

By March, Britain’s elections watchdog had launched an investigation into South Thanet, and soon extended it to examine the three by-elections. Despite mounting questions, the Conservative Party offered little explanation. After a short chase, we caught up with chairman Lord Feldman and put our evidence to him.
March 2016
1 MAR 2016

Watchdog extends its inquiry into spending


winning Tory MPs caught up in the investigation.


The working majority of the Conservative party

Who's who

Marion Little

10 MAR 2016

Tory chairman forced to answer questions

18 MAR 2016

UKIP demands director of public prosecutions investigation

What does the law say?

The Battlebus - more undeclared hotel costs

The Conservatives unleashed Battlebuses - a new tactic used to mobilize teams of activists into marginal seats. Some Tories say this changed the outcome of the election, crushing the Liberal Democrats in the West Country and denying Labour victory in other key seats. Yet again, we uncovered evidence that the party failed to declare the full costs. They stated this was due to "an administrative error".
April 2016
20 APR 2016

Tories admit to failing to declare election campaign spending on buses

20 APR 2016

Battlebus revelations in the south

20 APR 2016

Battlebus revelations - the documents in full

Who's who

David Cameron

21 APR 2016

Battlebus: More revelations up north

21 APR 2016

Scott Mann MP admits Battlebus activists campaigned for him

I was co-chairman but compliance wasn’t my side of things. The campaigning side was my side, but not the money and the finance.

Grant Shapps, former Conservative Party chairman

The police launch investigations

In May, the dam bursts and more than a dozen police forces announced investigations into the Conservatives’ expenses. They began to apply to magistrates’ courts for a one year extension to the time limit on investigating election offences. In total, 29 winning Conservative MPs fall under the spotlight. The party’s majority in Parliament is just 12.


police forces granted extension to time limit on investigation

3 MAY 2016

Police and Crime Commissioner candidate caught up in scandal

May 2016
4 MAY 2016

Police forces meet with Commission to discuss spending

Who's who

Lord Feldman & CCHQ

6 MAY 2016

The dam bursts – constabularies announce investigations

Behind the photo:

South Thanet Campaign HQ

What's a battlebus and why does it matter?

9 MAY 2016

Election agent linked to scandal becomes Police and Crime Commissioner

10 MAY 2016

Police Fed call for resignation of Crime Comissioner

Electoral Commission demands documents

Later in May, it is revealed that the Electoral Commission had to repeatedly ask the Conservative Party to disclose material relevant to their investigations but have not received it all. The Commission applies to the High Court for an Order which will grant them access to the party’s records.
12 MAY 2016

Election watchdog takes Tories to court

17 MAY 2016

Labour implicated in the scandal

22 MAY 2016

SNP call for police investigation

27 MAY 2016

Tories take police to court to avoid time limit extension

Did Labour break the rules?

1 JUNE 2016

Police win court battle, dismissing Tory attempt to block investigation

The attempt to block investigations in South Thanet

While most police forces received permission to extend the deadline for investigating expenses, Kent Police faced an unprecedented challenge. A top QC was hired to thwart their investigation into Conservative Craig Mackinlay’s campaign spending during his battle with Nigel Farage in South Thanet. In the end, the judge threw out this extraordinary legal bid.
June 2016

The investigation has been delayed and hindered by the failure of the [Conservative] Party to provide complete and timely disclosure... these allegations go to the very heart of our democracy.

Electoral Commission witness statement

Why did this court date matter?

7 JUN 2016

Tories question integrity of watchdog

In my judgment the combination of circumstances before me is wholly exceptional and goes far beyond the usual circumstances that would exist in a typical case where election offences are being investigated.

District Judge Barron, Folkestone Magistrates Court
15 JUN 2016

David Cameron interviewed by Jon Snow on election expenses

Who's who

The Channel 4 News Investigations Unit

21 JUN 2016

Call centres involved in election push polling?

What does the Conservative party say about the allegations?

November 2016
15 NOV 2016

Prime Minister's chief of staff drawn into election expenses investigation

February 2017
28 FEB 2017

New emails reveal role of PM’s top aide

March 2017

Tory whistleblowers accuse Conservatives of ‘huge betrayal’ of electorate

15 MAR 2017

New emails show more members of PM’s top team involved

April 2017

CPS considering charges against over 30 people including Tory MPs over expenses

What will happen next?

The Conservative Party has always maintained that its election expenses in 2014 and 2015 were declared “in accordance with the law” and this will now be put to the test. The Electoral Commission probe continues - now the longest investigation in its history. It is not expected to reveal its findings before 2017. Meanwhile, more than a dozen police forces are also investigating. Our work also continues. Contact us:
At most, it has the potential to see elections re-run, and the Government lose its slim grip on power..[36]