Friday 17 November 2017

Theresa May's advisers dragged into expenses row as Tories fined

British PM Theresa May. Photo: Reuters
British PM Theresa May. Photo: Reuters

Kate McCann in London

TWO of Theresa May's most senior advisers have been dragged into a political scandal as the British Conservative Party was fined £70,000 (€80,303) and reported to police over election expenses.

The Electoral Commission published a damning report warning that the Conservatives could have gained an "advantage" as a result of failing to declare key election spending on a UK-wide battlebus tour and staff accommodation.

It warned that "significant failures" by the party to accurately report expenses "undermine voters' confidence" in democratic elections.

Overall, the party's 2015 general election spending return was missing £104,765 in expenses receipts. In addition, £118,124 was not reported to the commission or recorded incorrectly. A further £52,924 in invoices and receipts was also missing.

In South Thanet, the omission of expenses is thought to have breached the strict £15,000 local election spending limits, according to senior Conservatives. As a result Simon Day, the former treasurer of the party, was found to have committed a series of contraventions under the rules. The report also prompted questions over the role of Nick Timothy, one of Mrs May's closest advisers.

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