Tag Archives: Tory Election Expenses Scandal

Tory Election Fraud: Craig Mackinlay Charged

It has just been announced that the Crown Prosecution Service has charged the Conservative candidate for Thanet South, Craig MacKinlay, with filing incorrect expenses claims. Mackinlay’s agent, Nathan Gray and Tory staffer, Marion Little, have also been charged with the same offences. It would seem the Tories have found their fall guy.

For anyone hoping that Mackinlay would be forced to stand aside, I’m afraid those hopes have been dashed. He will continue to stand as a Conservative candidate. Nowhere Towers thinks that smacks of institutionalized corruption.

Here’s what Peter Oborne said on Twitter.

As Oborne points out, this is a national issue and not, as has been claimed by the likes of Newsnight’s Nick Watt, a “little local difficulty”. One person not named by the CPS in the election expenses fraud is Theresa May’s joint Chief of Staff, Nick Timothy, who was deeply involved in the South Thanet campaign. According to The Guardian:

Theresa May’s chief of staff was among the advisers based in the key battleground seat of South Thanet, where the Electoral Commission found the Conservatives appear to have understated spending on their local campaign against the former Ukip leader Nigel Farage.

Nick Timothy was not accused of any wrongdoing and would have played no role in the recording of campaign spending, but Downing Street has been dragged into the controversy because the Electoral Commission found at least some of the expenses of party staff involved in the campaign should have been recorded as local spending rather than national spending.

Well, that’s all right then… or is it?

Democracy is for sale.

We’ll have more when we get it.

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Tory Election Fraud: No Charges

Few people can be surprised that the CPS will not be prosecuting Tory MPs and agents for failing to correctly declare their elections expenses.  This is a serious blow for democracy in the United Kingdom, which continues to operate the archaic First Past The Post system to elect its legislators. It is well known that the Conservative Party is awash with money from shadowy donors, who are themselves drawn from the 1%.

The BBC only really started reporting the story in its television and radio news when it appeared certain that no charges were to be brought. Now, one could suggest that this was a non-story and that is the reason the BBC avoided it. However, The Cat would narrow his eyes and say “nonsense”.

The response from the Tories was predictable and shrill. Patrick McLoughlin, the Conservative Party chairman claimed  “false and malicious claims” were made about his candidates on the Internet and added:

“After a very thorough investigation, we are pleased that the legal authorities have confirmed what we believed was the case all along, that these Conservative candidates did nothing wrong.

“These were politically motivated and unfounded complaints that have wasted police time. We are glad that this matter is finally resolved.”

Make no mistake, if  Labour or Green candidates had been accused of falsely declaring their election expenses, the Tories would have made a lot of noise. Hypocrisy much?

Karl McCartney,  the Tory candidate for Lincoln, said:  “This whole saga amounts to no more than a politically-motivated witch-hunt.” You clearly don’t know what a witch hunt is, Karl.

Jeremy Corbyn told BBC: “I am interested and surprised by it. We will have to look at the details.”

One case, that of Craig McKinlay in Thanet South, remains in the hands of the CPS. There could still be prosecutions.

Democracy is for sale.

EDITED TO ADD; 10/5/17 @ 1612

Tory Party chairman, Patrick McLoughlin, has threatened to sue anyone on the Internet, who he claims have made:

“A number of false and malicious claims continue to be spread on the internet. People should be aware that making false claims about a candidate’s personal character and conduct is an electoral offence, as well as being defamatory.”

Tim Ireland of Bloggerheads was forthright:

The Tories are bullies (qv. Lucy Allan, Mark Clarke, Grant Shapps et al) and will threaten anyone that speaks up with the courts. Why? Because they have the money and money talks. The legal system doesn’t work for the majority; it works for those that have the money, power and influence.

To McLoughlin, I’ll say this: come and get me.

 

 

 

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Whatever Happened To The Tory Bullying Scandal?

Tomorrow belongs to me? Megalomania, bullying, blackmail and sexual assault.

As the Crown Prosecution Services prepares to announce whether it intends to prosecute over 30 Tory “individuals” (sic) for failing to correctly declare elections expenses during the 2015 General Election, it’s worth remembering the other scandal into which the Tory Election Expenses Scandal is interwoven. That scandal is the Tory Bullying Scandal.

It is worrying that for more than a year the entire story has gone quiet. Indeed, a current government minister, a former minister and the party chairman are entangled in its web.  A party worker actually committed suicide after a campaign of bullying and intimidation, and a sitting MP was blackmailed for having an affair.

Here is what we know about the Tory Bullying Scandal:

  • In 2014, Mark Clarke was appointed director Conservative RoadTrip2015 by Grant Shapps, the then party chairman. This organization,  bussed activists around the country to key marginals. RoadTrip2015 is at the heart of the Tory Election Expenses Scandal.

  • Clarke threatened to blackmail Robert Halfon, MP over an alleged sexual infidelity.
  • A file on the bullying was passed to party chairman, Lord Feldman, who failed to take action.
  • Elliott Johnson, a young party activist committed suicide after being bullied by Clarke and Andre Walker, whom he regards as a friend.  Walker himself was covertly recorded on a train plotting to smear Alison Knight, the deputy leader of Windsor Council with an associate. Walker also claimed to be Johnson’s lover.

  • David Cameron invited Clarke to Chequers to celebrate the activists’ role in the campaign’s success
  • Sayeeda Warsi, a former party chair, wrote to Shapps demanding action be taken against bullying. She claimed that she received “no satisfactory response”.
  • There was considerable overlap between Thatcherite group, Conservative Way Forward (CWF), Conservative Future (youth wing), RoadTrip2015 and Young Britons’ Foundation (YBF).  It was revealed that Clarke had sexually assaulted several female members of YBF. This forced Donal Blaney, the YBF’s leader to cancel their annual conference. Blaney was also forced to resign from CWF.
  • Shapps was forced to resign as International Development Minister.
  • Clarke was suspended and later expelled from the party.
  • The internal Tory Party inquiry found there were 13 alleged victims. The same inquiry, conducted by Clifford Chance, concluded that senior party figures were “unaware” bullying was taking place.  Elliott Johnson’s parents condemned the inquiry as a “whitewash”.

Clarke appeared on The Cat’s radar back in 2012, when he was listed as the YBF’s Outreach Officer. I’d already written a piece on the YBF and its role as the self-styled ‘madrassah’, which trained young Tory trolls activists.  Clarke and the YBF had even plotted to “take over” the City of London Corporation (Council).  Aidan ‘Nazi Boy’ Burley, the former MP or Cannock Chase, was a member of the YBF. He was also an associate of Clarke and the pair worked together in the Trade Union Reform Campaign or TURC. Indeed, given the names of those involved in the YBF (Blaney, Burley et al), it is entirely possible that this scandal also involves certain members – past and present – of the Hammersmith and Fulham Conservative Party. Clarke was also stepping out with Justine Greening, the current Education Secretary.

While the Tory Bullying Scandal was bubbling along, in December 2015 it emerged that Lucy Allen, the MP for Telford, had left one of her workers a series of bullying rants on her voicemail.  Not satisfied with what she’d already done, Allan added the words “unless you die” to a message from a constituent that criticized her support for bombing Syria. Allan was neither investigated nor disciplined for her actions.

This is a scandal that goes right to the heart of Downing Street. But why has this story gone so cold? Could it have something to do with the Conservative Party’s internal inquiry, dubbed by some as a “whitewash”? The corporate media dropped the story soon after the inquiry. Yet questions about bullying in the Tory Party and the connection between RoadTrip2015 and the Tory Election Expenses Scandal persist.  Will we ever get to the truth?

UPDATE 25/4/17 @ 1808

The Guardian have taken up the story and added more detail.

The Conservatives have failed to hand over a report on allegations of bullying within the party to police despite repeated requests from detectives, it has emerged.

British Transport police (BTP) have asked the Tory party to disclose the full report on the bullying inquiry, which was launched after allegations were made against the former election aide and failed parliamentary candidate Mark Clarke.

The Conservatives failed to hand over a report? Now where have I heard that before? Ah yes, last year, the Tories were rather sluggish to hand over a file to the Electoral Commission. Remember?

You can read more in The Guardian.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/apr/25/conservative-party-police-bullying-report-elliott-johnson

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General Elections, The Fixed Term Parliament Act and Tory Election Fraud

Forgive me in advance, but the cynic in me thinks that Theresa May calling for a debate to acquire the two thirds majority needed under the terms of the Fixed Term Parliament Act (FTPA), which will allow her to call a General Election, is not only cynical but desperate.  This morning, I heard rumours that the Crown Prosecution Service is to make an announcement that 22 Conservative MPs are to face prosecution for failing to correctly declare their election expenses in 2015.  Naturally, the BBC’s political geniuses and self-styled gurus failed to mention this as a possible factor in May’s decision. Indeed, in March, the Prime Minister ruled out calling a snap General Election. Here she is being interviewed by Andrew Neil on The Sunday Politics.  At round 28.00 she appears to quash rumours that she will call a snap election.

When the ‘Downing Street’ announcement was made at a few minutes past eleven this morning, the Blairites, Blue Labourites, assorted anti-Corbynites and their ever-diminishing band of supporters were gleefully claiming that the end is nigh for Jeremy Corbyn’s time as party leader. In what other country would you have people, who are supposedly members of a particular political party, wishing for their own party’s demise? What kind of false consciousness bullshit is that?

If May is successful in securing a two thirds majority to trigger the election, the usual voices will claim that Corbyn should have voted against it. But then, these people are utterly clueless about Parliamentary procedure and party politics generally. Parliament, if anything, is all about procedure, which involves the kind of dull and often repetitive stuff that turns many people off politics.. well, party politics at any rate.  Real politics concerns the decisions and choices you make in your everyday lives. Parliamentary politics, as currently configured, is entertainment, public relations and a lot of bullshit. The FTPA demands that either a vote of no confidence is tabled or the PM seeks the approval of the Commons to call an election.

One last thing: members are important and a party that has hundreds of thousands of members is likely to do better than a party with a fraction of those members.  No political party with a handful of members has ever made an electoral impact, formed a government nor formed the official opposition. I’ll be watching the Blairites to see how they behave.  My instincts tell me that they will actively try to sabotage their party’s chances of winning. Let’s hope my instincts are wrong.

UPDATE 18/4/17 @ 1742

According to Michael Crick, the CPS deadline for the decision on whether to prosecute 22 Tory MPs is late May or early June.

UPDATE 18/4/17 @ 2011

Channel 4 News has reported that there are over 30 Tory MPs and election agents that are facing prosecution.

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Tory Election Fraud: The Clock Is Ticking.

The Cat wonders what’s happening with the investigation into the Tory Party’s fraudulent activities that took place during the 2015 General Election.  It seems to have gone rather quiet, save for the occasional appearance of the hashtag #ToryElectionFraud on Twitter.  Even Channel 4, which has been running with the story has been noticeably quiet recently.  The last entry on their website was back in November 2016 when it announced that the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Nick Timothy, had been drawn into the controversy.  So, what’s going on? It’s anyone’s guess.  The Cat suspects that the Tories will do all they can to obstruct and delay the investigation, meaning that the police forces involved could run out of time.

Prior to the General Election, The Cat was convinced that the only way David Cameron’s deeply unpopular Nouveau Tories could win was to cheat.  They did this in two ways: they under-claimed on their expenses and they scrubbed voters from the electoral registers.  In addition to this, they began the process of gerrymandering constituency boundaries, which they claimed was done out of ‘fairness’ and to supposedly eliminate safe seats.  What wasn’t explained was how the ‘safe seats’ they identified were mainly Labour seats in urban areas. Tory safe seats, such as those occupied by the likes of Matthew Hancock, would remain safe.

Interestingly, the Electoral Commission, the ostensibly  neutral body that redraws electoral boundaries, withdrew its investigation into the Tories last July.  The reason it offered was contained in this paragraph:

The Electoral Commission has today (15 July) announced that as part of its investigation into the Conservative and Unionist Party campaign spending returns it launched on 18 February 2016, it has withdrawn its application to the High Court for an information and document disclosure order. This means that there will be no hearing regarding the order. The Commission has made this decision because since issuing its application to the High Court on 12 May, it has received sufficient  material from the Party to proceed with its investigation.

This means that over 20 police forces up and down the country are now solely responsible for investigating the claims. Many constabularies were granted extra time to conduct their investigations but time is running out.

The Conservatives have already tried twice to stymie the investigation.  Once when Craig Mackinlay, the MP for Thanet South attempted to block it in the courts and again, when they dragged their heels when they were asked to submit  important documents.

The clock is still ticking.

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