BREAKING Tory election spending: Crown Prosecution Service says no criminal charges for 14 police enquires

Crown Prosecution Service says no criminal charges for 14 police enquires in Tory 2015 election spending

One file into Tory party spending remains under consideration

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has announced there will be no criminal charges over 14 police enquiries into Conservative election spending.

In March, the party received a fine from the Electoral Commission after it supposedly failed to accurately declare its 2015 election expenses.

It had been alleged the party's local campaign operation had been registered under Conservative national expenditure, and 15 police forces across England began investigating the party's spending in the wake of the Electoral Commission fine. 

Now the CPS has said no criminal charges will be brought in 14 of the cases it has reviewed. It specified there was one file still under consideration by the body. 

The statement from the CPS is as follows:

"We have considered files of evidence from 14 police forces in respect of allegations relating to Conservative Party candidates' expenditure during the 2015 General Election campaign.

"We considered whether candidates and election agents working in constituencies that were visited by the Party's 'Battle Bus' may have committed a criminal offence by not declaring related expenditure on their local returns. Instead, as the Electoral Commission found in its report, these costs were recorded as national expenditure by the Party.

"We reviewed the files in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and have concluded the tests in the Code are not met and no criminal charges have been authorised.

"One file, from Kent Police, remains under consideration. No inference as to whether any criminal charge may or may not be authorised in relation to this file should be drawn from this fact.

"We will announce our decision as soon as possible once we have considered the evidence in this matter."

Tim Farron has reacted angrily to the news, saying the Tories have "driven a battlebus and horses through the spirit of the law."