Thursday, 16 March 2017

Prima facie electoral malfeasance

Just what the Conservatives - and the allegations go right into Downing Street - did wrong in at least twelve electoral districts in 2015 is summed up by Mark Pack's posting. This makes it clear that the £70,000 fine imposed by the Electoral Commission is not the end of the matter. The EC does not have powers of prosecution, so it passed documentation of the linked criminal issues to the Metropolitan Police. Other police forces have passed papers to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Before those of us worried that Nigel Farage may get into the House by the back door, and before UKIP start cheering, it should be pointed out that queries were raised about the UKIP expenses in South Thanet at about the same time as those of the Conservatives. This investigation has not gone away.

Channel 4 News topped its news bulletin tonight laying out unequivocally what the Conservatives have done and what the effect of such breaches of the law has on our democracy. There was also a plea from the Electoral Commission for more powers of investigation and of enforcement. The maximum individual fine the EC may impose is £20,000 which is nothing to a political party with deep pockets.

In contrast, the BBC, finally having to catch up with Channel 4 in view of the official report, played down the news. They hardly questioned the official Conservative line that the offences were down to poor administration and that the party had cooperated with the Commission - both assertions that Jon Snow and Michael Crick were able to refute [sic] on Channel 4 less than an hour later.

updated 2017-03-16 19:25

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