Nicola Sturgeon attacks Theresa May over claim the SNP were fined for election expenses

PM was trying to deflect criticism of the party over allegations it fiddled its local election spending

Caroline Mortimer
Wednesday 10 May 2017 23:25
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Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May attends a campaign event in York
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May attends a campaign event in York

Nicola Sturgeon has castigated Theresa May for claiming the SNP was fined by the Electoral Commission while trying to deflect blame about the Conservatives’ own election expenses.

The Prime Minister was responding to news that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had decided not to prosecute Conservative candidates and officials who were alleged to have broken election spending rules.

The allegations related to claims that the Conservatives manipulated the official reporting of their election expenses.

They are alleged to have incorrectly claimed bills for activists’ hotel stays and the “battle buses” in individual target seats as national expenditure to get around tight rules covering local election spending.

In March, the Electoral Commission handed the party a record fine of £70,000 after they admitted under-declaring national spending, but they insist all local spending was properly declared.

Ms May said in a statement: “Police time has been taken up by this issue.

“Those who made these complaints will have to consider the basis on which they made those complaints.

“If you look at the expenses issue, we have seen all the major parties and the Scottish nationalists being fined for mistakes made on national expenses.

“We have paid our fines and I sincerely hope the other parties are paying theirs.”

Both the Labour party and the Liberal Democrats were fined £20,000 last year for undeclared national spending.

But the Electoral Commission later confirmed it had never imposed any fine on the SNP for election expenses.

Ms Sturgeon tweeted that Ms May should “apologise for this attempt to smear the SNP”.

“Unlike Tories, we abide by the rules and have never been fined by the Electoral Commission,” she added.

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