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Electoral Commission response to Crown Prosecution Service statement

Published: 10 May 2017

An Electoral Commission spokesman said:

“The evaluation set out by the Crown Prosecution Service in today’s announcement is consistent with that of the Commission, which concluded that the Conservative party’s spending return was incomplete and inaccurate, as it contained spending that should have been included in the candidates’ returns.

The rules set by Parliament to regulate political party finance are clear and well-established, they exist to ensure transparency in the system and to underpin public confidence in our democratic processes.

“Parties and candidates need to ensure they fully comply with these responsibilities under the law. The Commission will continue to provide guidance and advice to parties and others to ensure they are clear on the rules, including during the current campaigning period leading up to the UK Parliamentary General Election.”

Notes to editors

1. The Electoral Commission is the independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK. We work to promote public confidence in the democratic process and ensure its integrity by:

  • enabling the delivery of free and fair elections and referendums, focussing on the needs of electors and addressing the changing environment to ensure every vote remains secure and accessible
  • regulating political finance – taking proactive steps to increase transparency, ensure compliance and pursue breaches
  • using our expertise to make and advocate for changes to our democracy, aiming to improve fairness, transparency and efficiency

The Commission was set up in 2000 and reports to the UK and Scottish Parliaments.

2. In its investigatory report into the Conservative Party’s spending return for the 2015 General Election, the Commission set out its conclusions that the Conservative Party incorrectly reported as party spending a proportion of its battle bus costs, which should have been apportioned as candidate spending.

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