Conservative expenses scandal 'brings politics into disrepute', says Alex Salmond

'It is extraordinary that election rules can be so blatantly broken and as yet, at least, no one is to be held criminally responsible'

Samuel Osborne
Thursday 11 May 2017 08:44
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The way the Conservatives have acted during the investigation into allegations some candidates broke election spending rules "brings politics into disrepute," Alex Salmond has said.

The former Scottish First Minister said it was "extraordinary that election rules can be so blatantly broken" and yet "no one is to be held criminally responsible".

Mr Salmond was reacting to the news no criminal charges are to be brought against Conservative candidates who were alleged to have broken spending rules during the 2015 general elections.

The CPS said in most cases the matter will not be taken forward.

"It is extraordinary that election rules can be so blatantly broken and as yet, at least, no one is to be held criminally responsible," Mr Salmond wrote on Facebook.

"Of course, the Tory Party have been fined a record £70,000 by the Electoral Commission, but that is a mere flea bite for an organisation with their vast resources."

In March, the Electoral Commission handed the party a record £70,000 fine after they admitted under-declaring national spending.

General Election polls and projections: May 11

He added: "Indeed, such is their arrogance they have appointed the same top team to take charge of this campaign, who were ultimately responsible for the expenses scandal of the last election.

"It does demonstrate that even record fines are not sufficient to keep Tories in check and enforce the rule book. That brings politics into disrepute."

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said the Tories still have "significant questions to answer" over their election expenses.

Scotland's First Minister also called for a review of the Electoral Commission's "clout".

She had previously claimed Theresa May called June's general election in part because she feared numerous Tory MPs would face prosecution.

Speaking on the General Election campaign trail in East Dunbartonshire, Ms Sturgeon said: "I think the Conservatives still have some questions to answer over their election expenses from the last election.

"What we've heard from the CPS today is that they don't have evidence of criminal intent but they say there may be evidence of inaccuracies in some election returns, and of course the Electoral Commission has already levied fines against the Conservatives in relation to expenses at the last election.

"I think there is certainly a doubt over the Tories about whether they were really playing by the rules at the last election and there's still some significant questions to answer."

The Conservative Party has always maintained administrative errors were to blame for any inaccuracies, describing police complaints as "politically motivated and unfounded" .

Additional reporting by Press Association

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