Police Investigating Tessa Munt Election Expenses

Avon and Somerset Police have received several complaints about ex-LibDem MP Tessa Munt following Guido’s story on her election expenses. Munt, who hypocritically attacked the Tories over their spending declarations, herself failed to declare a battle bus which campaigned in her constituency. Asked about the Munt case, the cops tell Guido:

“Avon and Somerset Constabulary have received a number of allegations in relation to improper spending in the 2015 General Election. We will be applying for an extension to the time allowed to investigate and continue to liaise closely with the Electoral Commission.”

They are in court today applying for an extension to investigate local Tory MPs, which will now apply to Tessa too. She says she welcomes the police investigation. The question for all parties is this: If transport benefited both local and national campaigns, why were the costs not split between the local and national spend as required by law?

Eddie Izzard’s Hotel Bills Not Lawfully Declared

Eddie Izzard Alex Sobel Leeds Labour

On Sunday the Labour Party told Channel 4 News that they “never spent any mone y putting volunteers up in hotels during tours” in the general election. Channel 4 reported that “so far no evidence has emerged to contradict them”. Until now…

On April 20 2015, Eddie Izzard travelled to Leeds North West to campaign on behalf of Labour candidate Alex Sobel. As you can see above, Izzard had pictures taken with the candidate, in front of posters bearing the candidate’s name. There can be no doubt this was local campaigning…

Yet the invoice above shows Labour’s national campaign paid for Izzard’s hotel in Leeds on April 20. This is a flagrant breach of the rules – Izzard was an activist who campaigned for a local candidate, so his hotel bill should have been declared as part of the candidate’s local spend. It also shows Labour’s claim that they never put activists up in hotels to be untrue. Just because Izzard is a celebrity doesn’t mean he isn’t an activist, the rules still apply…

Political Party Richlist

January Loans Graph merged

2016’s first quarter saw a bumper month for parties vying for local election funds, with the Tories raising £6,744,212 and Labour £5,486,345. This represents around 50% less than last year for both major parties in the same period (the larger ammount is to be expected in election year). Meanwhile, the SNP’s sighs of relief at not losing the Scottish Parliament are palpable, with the party only beating UKIP in donations due to the latter’s refusal to take public short money (the SNP received nearly £80,000 less than UKIP in private donations). More importantly, however, is the Nat’s massive outstanding loans: £1,165,553 all told, significantly above any other party. Guido’s sure those hefty government contracts north of the border will quickly help them recover…

Munt Admits She Didn’t Declare Local Campaign Transport

Tessa Munt has confirmed to Guido she did not declare any battle bus costs in her local spend, telling us: “Nothing to declare! Leader’s bus different from activists bus all expenses paid.” The Electoral Commission however say that the a party leader’s transport costs, if used for local campaigning, should be split between the local and national spend. She has broken the rules…

Munt says she only jumped on to deliver some cider and cheese to Clegg’s team, sending us a photo that she reckons proves no local campaigning took place. Hilariously – and dishonestly – Munt cropped out the journalist and cameraman from her local paper. This is what she didn’t want us to see:

Clegg gave the local journalist quotes telling constituents to “vote for Tessa” –  that is demonstrably local campaigning. You can see why they were known as the FibDems…

“Cheated” LibDem Pictured Campaigning on Battle Bus

“My constituents should feel cheated,” whinged beaten ex-LibDem MP Tessa Munt to the BBC about the Tory election expenses scandal. The sore loser went even further on her Facebook page:

“The new Tory MP seems to have cheated the people of the Wells Constituency of a fair and just election result last May. Expenses should not be hidden, but be declared as the law requires.”

Oh should they, Tessa…

This photo shows Munt on the LibDem battle bus on May 5 2015. Nick Clegg used the journey to campaign specifically for Munt, resulting in not one but two stories in her local paper. Clegg told them:

“if you vote for Tessa, not only will you get a wonderful MP, but someone who is a member of a party who wants to balance the books”

Clearly this was both local and national campaigning. The Electoral Commission says the cost of such travel for a party leader and candidate should be split between the local and national spend:

“If the travel promotes both the local candidate and national policies, then a portion of the cost of that bus should be allocated towards the candidate’s spending limit and a portion towards the party’s national spending limit.”

Yet the LibDem battle bus was declared wholly as a national expense. Maybe Munt should take a look at her own failed campaign – and her own election expenses – before crying about how she was “cheated”…

Christine Hamilton Hired on the Public Payroll

hamilton

UKIP’s new group leader in Wales Neil Hamilton is wasting no time in making the most of his new gig. Guido can reveal he has already hired his wife Christine as his new assistant on the public payroll. No doubt after a full and open recruitment process…

Neil tells Guido:

“It is true I will be employing Christine. Christine has 26 years of experience of working in the House of Commons for MPs, and there is no one better to manage my diary. She will be employed on the bottom rung of the lowest scale.”

Surely an applicant with such experience deserves a better salary than that…

Osborne Missed Borrowing Target By Even More Than Previously Thought

OSBORNE MISSES TARGETS

Revised ONS data shows public sector net borrowing was £76 billion in the last financial year, £2 billion more than previously thought. Osborne had forecast £72.2 billion of borrowing for the last year and was reported to have missed his target by £1.8 billion back in April. Turns out he actually missed it by almost £4 billion…

Police Investigating Shadow Minister Over Election Expenses

Detectives have launched an investigation into shadow minister Cat Smith after Guido revealed a string of anomalies in her election expenses. Last week we reported that several thousand pounds were missing from the Labour MP’s spending declarations. Smith herself refused to comment, though her election agent denied wrongdoing. In the past few days Lancashire Police have received a number of complaints from members of the public, and last night they confirmed that detectives have launched an investigation. This is the first police investigation into a Labour MP over 2015 election expenses…

Worth noting that the Cat Smith case is different from all the other election expenses stories. Smith’s spending irregularities are not about battle buses or hotels for activists. Much more worryingly, this is about how she declared her office rent and staffing costs, many thousands of which were not declared in her campaign expenditure. As an individual case, this is more serious than any of the other election fraud stories of the last few weeks. Read Guido’s original story showing how Smith’s declarations were a work of financial fiction here

Electoral Commission on Jock-‘Copter Campaign

sturgeon+hendry

Above are images which, as the Getty captions say, show Nicola Sturgeon on May 2 last year in Portree and Inverness on her helicopter tour campaigning for local candidates.[…]

+ READ MORE +

NUS Chief Executive Paid Five Times Average Graduate

simon blake nus

The increasingly unpopular NUS faces its sixth disaffiliation vote this month, with the University of Cambridge holding a referendum as part of the national NUSceptic campaign to leave the loony-left union. With each member union paying sums as high as £50,000 into the NUS every year, the organisation’s focus on far-left policies rather than issues that matter to students could leave it with a massive financial black hole. […]

+ READ MORE +

SNP Chopper Not Declared Properly

Last night the SNP wrote to the Met Police asking them to investigate the Tories for failing to properly declare their election battle buses. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone…

Back during the election campaign, the SNP used a helicopter to fly Nicola Sturgeon around Scotland.[…]

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Crick Crick’d

Michael Crick finally touched on the Labour expenses fraud on Wednesday, having previously devoted his coverage to the Tory version of the story. After a brief chase around Smith Square, Guido caught up with him for a chat. On the other parties, he promises “more in the next few days”…[…]

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LibDem Who Complained to Police About Tory Election Fraud Broke Spending Rules

Former LibDem MP Adrian Sanders has been at the forefront of police complaints about election spending fraud. He even wrote a template letter for concerned constituents to dob candidates in to the cops:

“The criminal offence allegations if proven are very serious indeed.

[…]

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13 Labour MPs Didn’t Declare Hattie’s Pink Bus

Since Guido started looking at Labour’s battle bus spending, readers have been in touch to ask where Harriet Harman’s famous pink bus fits in. Well, it’s a very good question. Electoral Commission data shows that 13 Labour MPs who claimed they spent nothing on transport benefitted from activists transported into their constituencies in Hattie’s pink van.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Shadow Minister’s Missing Money Mystery

Cat Smith is a Shadow minister and leading Corbynista who worked for Jezza before he became leader. While investigating Labour’s election spending trickery, Guido came across a series of anomalies in Smith’s declarations. They raise questions about potentially thousands of pounds of missing money.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Another Labour MP Failed to Declare Campaign Battle Bus

This tweet shows Tom Watson and Jon Ashworth taking the Labour Express battle bus to Paula Sheriff MP’s Dewsbury constituency on March 7 2015.[…]

+ READ MORE +



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