Conservative Party chairman Patrick McLoughlin pushes camera away when asked about election expenses scandal

It comes hours after Electoral Commission fined Tories £70,000

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Indy Politics

The Chairman of the Conservative Party has pushed away a television camera after being asked about the election expenses scandal that saw his party fined £70,000.

Patrick McLoughlin MP, who previously served as Transport Secretary and Chief Whip, appeared angry after being asked by a reporter about the Electoral Commission’s decision to fine the Tories over undeclared election spending.

After being greeted by Sky News reporters outside Parliament, Mr McLoughlin pushed the camera away.

As the questioning continued, the party chairman finally said: “We have made a statement. Thank you.”

“We have made a statement”, he then repeated. 

It comes after an investigation by the Electoral Commission into allegations the Conservatives failed to report a number of expenses incurred during the 2015 General Election campaign. 

In total, £104,765 of spending was not declared and a further £118,000 of payments were either not reported or reported incorrectly.

An additional £52,924 of costs did not have the required invoices or receipts. 

In response, a Conservative spokesperson said the party had “complied fully” with the watchdog’s investigation and would pay the £70,000 fine.

"This investigation and these fines relate to national spending by CCHQ, and the Conservative Party's national spending return for the 2015 general election,” they said.

"As we have consistently said, the local agents of Conservative candidates correctly declared all local spending in the 2015 general election.

"CCHQ accepted in March 2016 that it had made an administrative error by not declaring a small amount constituting 0.6% of our national spending in the 2015 election campaign.

"Political parties of all colours have made reporting mistakes from time to time... this is the first time the Conservative Party has been fined for a reporting error.

"We regret that and will continue to keep our internal processes under review to ensure this does not happen again.

"Given the range of technical errors made by a number of political parties and campaign groups, there also needs to be a review of how the Electoral Commission's processes and requirements could be clarified or improved."