Labour Spin Buses Were National Campaign, Internal Report Says “Dedicated to Marginal Seats”

Crick covered Guido’s story last night that the Tories had lawyered up in their row with the Electoral Commission. Meanwhile, the Labour press office are spinning a line responding to our revelation that 17 of their candidates failed to declare battle buses. Labour tell the Times:

“This was part of a nationally branded tour so the transport costs are rightly national spend. Labour’s spending is within the law and the rules set out by the Electoral Commission.”

Below is taken from page 25 of Harriet Harman’s official internal Labour General Election Report. In their own words, Labour admit that the four buses were “dedicated to supporting marginal seats”, not the national campaign. The report explains how campaigners worked “with nearby marginal seats and given incentives to prioritise work in those areas”.

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There it is in black and white: Labour’s buses worked to support marginal seats, not the national campaign. Electoral Commission rules are clear, this should have been declared as part of each local campaign. Bang to rights…

Clegg Failed to Declare Activist Travel Expenses

Nick Clegg did not declare travel expenses for activists who campaigned for him in his constituency, Guido can reveal. On May 2 2015, Clegg held an “Action Weekend” in Sheffield Hallam. Activists were told the event was specifically “to campaign with our amazing leader Nick Clegg”. There is no doubt this was constituency campaigning – the words “Sheffield Hallam” and “Nick Clegg” are in the invite. Activists had their transport costs paid for:

“Accommodation is FREE… We are giving up to £30 towards everyone’s travel costs – just book your travel and we will give you back the full cost up to £30!”

Here is the bombshell: Nick Clegg declared ZERO transport costs in his short campaign:

He also declared nothing for accommodation for activists. The LibDems paid for activists to travel to Nick Clegg’s constituency to campaign for him. This was demonstrably constituency spending. Yet Clegg did not declare their transport or accommodation costs. The police will want to look at this…

Police Receive Multiple Clegg Expenses Complaints

South Yorkshire police have this morning received multiple complaints from members of the public asking them to investigate Nick Clegg’s election spending. Yesterday we revealed how documents in Clegg’s own election return suggested his budget had been surpassed:

Clegg’s lawyers have been in touch to deny that he overspent in his Sheffield Hallam short campaign – they have also sent out threatening letters to newspapers. As with the other parties, the LibDems insist all spending was apportioned correctly to the local and national campaigns. So how do they explain the above document which says in black and white that the Sheffield Hallam budget was exceeded by £17,652?

They claim these figures were based on a budget which “mistakenly included template indicative figures” which “have no relevance whatsoever” to Clegg’s election expenses. Odd since they were filed in Clegg’s official election return. There is no denial that the monies were actually spent during the campaign. In their original official response to our questions, the LibDems made no mention of any “mistake” on their part.

Clegg’s position is that the budget discussed in this spreadsheet was a mistake on their behalf, and that these figures are not relevant. It does seem an odd thing for them to get so badly wrong. Labour sources in the constituency believe he overspent by a considerable sum more than so far revealed, judging by the amount they saw him throwing at the campaign. Clegg says it was all apportioned within the law. Either way, it’s in the hands of the police now…

REVEALED: How Nick Clegg Cooked the Books for £17,652

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Guido can reveal that Nick Clegg overspent by £17,652 in his Sheffield Hallam short campaign, then cooked the books so his declarations came in under the limit. Clegg’s official declarations claim he spent £14,138.77 in his short campaign:

Yet a second internal budget schedule obtained by Guido reveals Clegg’s true expenditure in Sheffield Hallam. This bombshell document admits Clegg actually spent £36,852.89 in his Sheffield Hallam short campaign. Astonishingly, under the column headed “What you’ve got left”, the figure “- £17,652.89” appears. This is prima facie evidence that Clegg broke electoral law – Clegg overspent by over £17,000…

CLEGG2

Clegg disguised his overspend by declaring £14,120.31 of his Sheffield Hallam spending as part of the national campaign. His Election Address – which by statute, namely the Representation of the Peoples Act, explicitly states is for the local candidate’s spend only – was declared as part national spend. His vehicle hire, room hire and agent costs were all declared as national spend. A further £5,913.45 was then “offset” for local elections and future campaigns. This is classic cooking the books – the document we have obtained admits that in reality all this spending was part of the “Sheffield Hallam Short Campaign Budget”.

A LibDem spokesman says spending was apportioned correctly to the national and other local campaigns in Sheffield Hallam:

“The figure of £-17,652 that you refer to is the amount spent above an indicative figure in a draft template budget. It does not relate to spend over and above an election spend limit. Any claim or suggestion of an overspend on the constituency return is misleading and factually inaccurate… We are confident that all spend has been correctly attributed to the appropriate return.”

It’s there in black and white – “What you’ve got left: -£17,652.89” – that looks like the true figure to Guido…

Labour Activist Outs Cat Smith’s Campaign Manager

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If Labour MP Cat Smith had declared her campaign organiser’s full salary in her election expenses, she would have bust her limit and broken electoral law. Instead, she declared just 12.5% of Ben Singleton’s wage because she claims he spent just 12.5% of his time on her campaign. Yet the above tweet from a fellow Labour activist outs Singleton as the man “who managed her campaign”. Added to the vast social media evidence here, there can be no doubt now that Singleton was in charge. It is simply not believable that he spent just 12.5% of his time on her campaign. Falsely declaring it as such would be against the law…

Guido has tried to ask Singleton for an explanation, but his phone is off and his email bounced back. He has also hidden his tweets from public view. This is now the key part of a live police investigation, so perhaps that’s why he doesn’t want to talk. Remember, Smith would have been over the spending limit if Singleton’s full salary had been declared. Cat got your tongue?

Knightly Loss of British Influence

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Drippingly Europhile British Influence appear to have made their co-President an unperson this morning. One minute he was there on the website under the ever-authentic Ken Clarke, the next minute “Sir” Anthony Bailey KGCN OBE was gone. Down the memory hole. Could it be anything to do with the fact that he was not actually knighted by Her Majesty?

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…

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.[…] Read the rest

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“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. 

[…] Read the rest

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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.[…] Read the rest

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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”…[…] Read the rest

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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.

[…] Read the rest

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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 the rest

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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 the rest

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Proof LibDem Battle Bus Did Transport Activists

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Following this morning’s story, a LibDem HQ spin-doctor categorically denied their battle bus was ever used to transport activists across the country:

“The only bus we ever had was Nick’s tour bus, which carried journalists and his staff, which is different to offering transport to bring activists into a seat to campaign.

[…] Read the rest

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