Conservatives fined for breaking election spending rules

The Electoral Commission has been investigating Tory election expenses since Channel 4 found emails suggesting the Conservatives had understated the amount they spent in three by-elections in 2014 and the 2015 general election.

The Electoral Commission has fined the Conservatives £70,000 (a record high fine) for missing invoices, incomplete returns and failing to provide the explanations for accounting required by election law. This is one example of how elections are subject to the law and careful regulation (an important democratic principle – Unit 1 Election and Unit 1 Democracy & Participation).

Further example of this: You may recall the earlier post about Alex Chalk facing an investigation into his expenses in the 2015 election. This investigation is one of many, by a variety of police forces, into up to 20 Conservative MPs who are accused of filing incorrect returns. These investigations continue and the police should soon be deciding whether they will bring charges (which, if found guilty, would require by-elections).

Another interesting angle though is that this story reaffirms popular attitudes that politicians cannot be trusted (think expenses scandal), not least since the Conservatives were uncooperative and the Electoral Commission had to drag information out of them via a court order. This can be used as evidence for why there are falling turnouts in elections and declining party membership (participation crisis – Unit 1 Democracy & Participation).

 

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